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Smart Economic Decision-Making in a Complex World - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128114612, 9780128131787

Smart Economic Decision-Making in a Complex World

1st Edition

Author: Morris Altman
eBook ISBN: 9780128131787
Paperback ISBN: 9780128114612
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 22nd May 2020
Page Count: 302
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Smart Economic Decision-Making in a Complex World is a fresh and reality-based perspective on decision-making with significant implications for analysis, self-understanding and policy. The book examines the conditions under which smart people generate outcomes that improve their place of work, their household and society. Within this work, the curious reader will find interesting open questions on many fascinating areas of current economic debate, including, the role of realistic assumptions robust model building, understanding how and when non-neoclassical behavior is best practice, why the assumption of smart decision-makers is best to understand and explain our economies and societies, and under what conditions individuals can make the best possible choices for themselves and society at large.

Additional sections cover when and how efficiency is achieved, why inefficiencies can persist, when and how consumer welfare is maximized, and what benchmarks should be used to determine efficiency and rationality.

Key Features

  • Makes the case for ‘smart and rational’ decision-making as a context-dependent rational process that is framed by socio-cultural environment and conditioned by institutional capacities
  • Explains how incorporation of the ‘smart’ decision-maker concept into economic thought improves our understanding of how, why and when people generate certain outcomes
  • Explores how economic efficiency can be achieved, individual preferences realized, and social welfare maximized through the use of ‘smart and rational’ approaches


Under(graduate) students in economics and beyond who are interested in decision-making, the process of decision-making, decision-making environments, and how real people act in the real world should be interested in this book

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: Smart thinking in the real world of complexity
    2. The evolution of decision-making: Why institutions and capabilities matters
    3. How complexity affects decision-making
    4. Freedom of choice in a complex world
    5. Understanding rational inefficiency: A scientific basis for economic failure and success
    6. How consumers can achieve freedom of choice: When consumers are truly sovereign
    7. Inside the black box of the firm: Why choice, power and preferences matter for productivity and efficiency
    8. How smart people can be involuntarily employment when misguided policy dominates decision-making
    9. Why financial literacy matters for socio-economic wellbeing
    10. How labour markets really work


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2020
22nd May 2020
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:

About the Author

Morris Altman

Morris Altman is the Dean of the University of Dundee Business School, Dundee, UK, and a chair professor of behavioural and institutional economics, and cooperatives. He is also an emeritus professor at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. He earned his PhD in economics from McGill University in 1984. A former visiting scholar at Cambridge University, Cornell University, Duke University, Hebrew University, Stirling University, and Stanford University, he served as an editor of the Journal of Socio-Economics for 10 years and is co-founder of Review of Behavioral Economics and is the founding editor of the Elsevier book series, Perspectives on Behavioral Economics and the Economics of Behavior. Dr. Altman has published over 100 refereed papers and ten books in economic theory and public policy including, Handbook of Contemporary Behavioral Economics, Behavioral Economics for Dummies, Economic Growth and the High Wage Economy, Real-World Decision Making: An Encyclopedia of Behavioral Economics, and Handbook of Behavioural Economics and Smart Decision-Making: Rational Decision-Making within the Bounds of Reason. Dr. Altman has also given over 150 international academic presentations on behavioral economics, x-inefficiency theory, institutional change, economics of co-operatives, economic history, methodology, ethics, and empirical macroeconomics.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Dundee Business School, Dundee, UK


"Considers how individuals’ decisions are impacted by their decision-making environment and decision-making capabilities, examining the determinants of effective decision making from both an individual and social perspective through a smart agent approach. Explores the evolution of behavioral economics from a multidisciplinary rational agent approach. Discusses the evolution of decision making and best-practice decision making from an evolutionary, bottom-up perspective articulated by Friedrich Hayek." --Journal of Economic Literature

"Contemporary behavioral economics often downplays the founding work of Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon and the Carnegie School. Morris Altman shows that Simon’s original behavioral economics can still offer much insight, particularly in highly complex contexts. Going beyond the focus on ‘errors and biases’ in much of current behavioral economics, Altman develops a rich, dynamic analysis, stressing the role of institutional and environmental factors in decision-making. This is an extremely important book." -- Geoff Hodgson, Professor in Management, Loughborough University London

"Morris Altman’s understanding of behavioral economics is broad and far-reaching.  In this book he has drawn on the history of economic thought, economics and ethics, and the methodology of economics to explain how behavioral economics has changed the goals and trajectory of recent economics.  Especially valuable is his attention to Herbert Simon’s early contribution and those of Gerd Gigerenzer and his colleagues to an ecological economics.  Altman’s assessment of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s influential work is perceptive and fresh.  This book will be very useful to scholars and students looking for a full understanding of this important development in contemporary economic thinking, and is strongly recommended." --John Davis, Professor Emeritus of Economics, Marquette University

"Altman has written an excellent evolution of behavioral economics, and how it is similar and different from neoclassical theory. Anyone interested in behavioral economics will find this book interesting and informative." -- Roger Frantz, Professor Emeritus of Economics, San Diego State University

Ratings and Reviews