Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Behavioral Labor Economics

Berg, Nathan (2006): Behavioral Labor Economics. Published in: In Altman, M., ed., Handbook of Contemporary Behavioral Economics, M.E. Sharpe, New York (2006): pp. 457-478.


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Behavioral economics has in recent decades emerged as a prominent set of methodological developments that have attracted considerable attention both within and outside the economics profession. The time is therefore auspicious to assess behavioral contributions to particular subfields of economics such as labor economics. With empirical validity among its chief objectives, one might guess that behavioral economics would have made its clearest mark in data-driven subfields such as labor economics. Motivated in part by the question of why labor economics has been a relatively slow adopter of behavioral theory, this essay surveys a wide range of behavioral studies that address core labor issues. Part of the explanation is that labor economists working in the neoclassical tradition have been relatively frank in revealing shortcomings of the neoclassical theory and aggressive in empirically testing its predictions. Therefore, new work in behavioral labor economics may represent less of a methodological break than in other subfields of economics.

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