This briefing by Emma Dawnay and Hetan Shah summarizes the latest thinking from behavioural economics. It reflects the New Economics Foundation’s effort to put alternative economics into a form that is useful primarily for policy-makers who use economic tools. It should also be helpful to the broader policy-making community by providing a theoretical underpinning for many policy approaches that have, up to now, been used intuitively. Standard (neoclassical) economic model assumes that humans are rational and behave in a way to maximize their individual self-interest. This approach has many shortfalls that can lead to unrealistic economic analysis and policy-making. This briefing distils many concepts from behavioural economics and psychology down to seven key principles, which highlight the main shortfalls in the neoclassical economics model of human behaviour.
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Dawnay, Emma, and Hetan Shah. 2005. Behavioural economics: seven principles for policy makers. London: New Economics Foundation. http://www.neweconomics.org/gen/z_sys_PublicationDetail.aspx?PID=213.