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Journal of Economic Literature: Vol. 51 No. 4 (December 2013)

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A Review Essay about Foundations of Neuroeconomic Analysis by Paul Glimcher

Article Citation

Camerer, Colin F. 2013. "A Review Essay about Foundations of Neuroeconomic Analysis by Paul Glimcher." Journal of Economic Literature, 51(4): 1155-82.

DOI: 10.1257/jel.51.4.1155

Abstract

Neuroeconomics aims to discover mechanisms of economic decision, and express them mathematically, to predict observed choice. While the contents of neuroeconomic models and evidence are obviously different than in traditional economics, (some of the) goals are identical: to explain and predict choice, the effects of comparative statics, and perhaps make interesting new welfare judgments that are defensible. To this end, Paul Glimcher's important book carefully describes how economics, psychological, and neural levels of explanation can be linked (a structure which has been successful in visual neuroscience). As Glimcher shows, the neural evidence is quite strong for a process of learning valuations through prediction error, and a simple model of neural valuation and comparison that corresponds to random utility (though subject to normalization, which produces menu effects). There is also rapidly growing evidence for more complicated constructs in behavioral economics, including prospect theory's account of risky choice, hyperbolic time discounting, level-k models of games, and social preferences corresponding to internal reward based on what happens to other agents.

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Authors

Camerer, Colin F. (CA Institute of Technology)

JEL Classifications

A12: Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
D12: Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
D87: Neuroeconomics


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