Séminaire NANCY – Guilhem Lecouteux (GREDEG)
De 11:00 à 12:00
Détails de l'événement :
“The Homer Economicus narrative: justifying epistocracy through cognitive psychology”
Abstract: A popular way to introduce behavioural economics consists in contrasting the characteristics of the fictive ‘Econs’ and of the supposedly real ‘Humans’. The archetypal illustration of this distinction is to describe an Econ as Mr Spock from Star Trek, and a Human as Homer Simpson. This ‘Homer Economicus’ narrative suggests that the deviations from the predictions of rational choice theory in the lab reveal that real Humans are pathologically maladjusted to their environment and are predictably stupid (and not merely ‘irrational’). The Homer Economicus narrative is central in the rise of behavioural paternalism – such as Sunstein and Thaler’s libertarian paternalism and the use of nudges – and the growing field of behavioural public policy. Treating behavioural ‘anomalies’ as mistakes, that should be corrected by a benevolent social planner, confers to economists the role of social designers, whose goal consists in designing optimal incentives and nudges so as to steer people’s behaviours in the ‘right’ direction. I argue that the Homer economicus narrative – despite the claims of its proponents – is psychologically flawed, and that it promotes a political agenda intending to fix maladjusted individuals to a given environment, rather than fixing possibly malfunctioning institutions. The individual’s ‘failures’ – in terms of health (e.g. obesity), wealth (poverty and lack of savings), etc. – are primarily explained by her cognitive deficiencies and ‘biases’, which overlooks the influence of social dynamics on one’s preferences and current situation.
Le séminaire se déroulera sous forme hybride.