ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Identity in Choice

Identity Economics: How Our Identities Shape Our Work, Wages, and Well-Being by George A Akerlof and Rachel E Kranton (Princeton: Princeton University Press), 2010; pp 185, Rs 1,195

B y the mid-20th century, the idea that the subject of economics should be based primarily on the study of the choices made by individual economic decision-making agents, possibly embellished by postulations regarding unobservable motivations or behavioural imperatives, had gained pre-eminence. Powerful mathematical theories of individual behaviour began to be established, with each such theory adopting a set of explicit assumptions (or postulates or axioms), many of which were about the motivations of economic actors. These assumptions were then used to deduce various implications or propositions regarding actual choices, which may be thought of both as predictions on what choices would be made in given circumstances, as well as frameworks to start analysing data on past choices.

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