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Optimally Irrational - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128144794

Optimally Irrational

1st Edition

The Good Reasons We Behave the Way We Do

Author: Lionel Page
Paperback ISBN: 9780128144794
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 1st November 2021
Page Count: 432
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Table of Contents

I Setting the scene
1. The homo economicus model
2. The psychology of biases in human behaviour
3. The logic of a scientific revolution in economics
4. Evolution and the logic of optimisation

II Individual decisions
5. Heuristics and biases
6. Reference dependent preferences
7. Sensitivity to probability
8. Random utility
9. Time preferences

III Strategic interactions
10. Kindness and reciprocity
11. Emotions and commitment
12. Trust and reputation
13. Selection of delusion


Optimally Irrational: The Good Reasons We Behave the Way We Do provides economists, social scientists and researchers in behavioral economics with a clear view of the frontier of research in economics and other behavioral sciences, including how the different biases unveiled by behavioral economics make sense when we try to optimize problems. The book evaluates the role of bias in human economic behavior, considers the human decision-making processes as the product of natural selection, and explores why we behave the way we do.

Key Features

  • Discusses the many seemingly strange and irrational ways we often behave
  • Explains how biases are often adaptive solutions to well-posed optimization problems under constraints
  • Unites advances in behavioral economics with those from other behavioral sciences and evolutionary biology


Anybody interested in human behaviour. It is written to be accessible to a wide readership. Researchers in behavioural sciences (economics, pychology, sociology, biology)


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2021
1st November 2021
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:

Ratings and Reviews

About the Author

Lionel Page

Lionel Page is a Professor of economics at the University of Technology Sydney. He has published broadly on the Economics and Psychology of human decisions. He received the 2016 Young Economist Award from the Economic Society of Australia as an economist under 40 who has made a significant contribution to economic thought. His research has been coverage by the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and The Australian.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Technology Sydney