Tracing the Divergence of Behavioral and Experimental Economics in the Rockefeller Archive Center's Collections

by Andrej Svorenčík

Jun 9, 2020

"I once asked Amos Tversky whatever happened to the tradition of Sidney Siegel in psychology, and he said, 'You are it.' That was not a compliment. [group laughter] That was a touché. [group laughter] He was putting me down. … 'You are it. You continued a bad tradition.'" (Vernon Smith at the Witness Seminar) This brief, and at first sight innocuous, if not jocular, exchange took place during a short two-day conference. Even if we must rely solely on Smith's memory (Tversky died over two decades ago), this exchange is far from being so insignificant as to be cast aside as merely a cute anecdote. Rather, it is symptomatic of an unease growing at that time between experimental economists, including Smith, on the one hand, and a group of economists and cognitive psychologists – soon to be referred to as behavioral economists – on the other.

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