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Toward a Dual Motive Metaeconomic Theory Gary D. Lynne Department of Agricultural Economics and School of Natural Resources University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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Presentation on theme: "Toward a Dual Motive Metaeconomic Theory Gary D. Lynne Department of Agricultural Economics and School of Natural Resources University of Nebraska-Lincoln."— Presentation transcript:

1 Toward a Dual Motive Metaeconomic Theory Gary D. Lynne Department of Agricultural Economics and School of Natural Resources University of Nebraska-Lincoln

2 Metaeconomics as “Marketing” “ Researchers await a new theorist who will assimilate the old theories and present an integrated theory incorporating previous concepts and propositions. A cynical colleague of mine once said that such a task requires the services of someone in marketing because the ideas will not be new ones but merely old ones presented in new packaging” (in commenting on the state of personality theories, Lester, 1995, p. 161).

3 Metaeconomic Premises Nothing new: “das Adam Smith problem” has been recognized for a very long time Economic actions “not from benevolence … but to their self- interest” (Smith, 1776); yet, “How selfish soever man may be supposed… often derive sorrow from the sorrow of others… by conceiving what we ourselves should feel in the like situation… by the imagination we place ourselves in his situation… excites some degree of the same emotion…” (Smith, 1759) Smith was really all about finding “peace of mind” due to these conflicting interests (see Wight, 2002), through the vehicle of empathy made conscious in the “3 rd station” (See Sen, 2002)

4 Premises… cont Neuroscience: Two brain circuitries… egoistic self-interest and empathetic other-interest… under homeostatic physiological regulation (Cory, 1999, 2004) by the 3 rd part of the brain Holistic psychology: Tendency toward 3- subselves (Angyal, 1941/1967; Berne, 1961; Lester, 1995; Rowan, 1990)

5 Premises… cont Other social sciences: Inherent conflict among the subselves, especially between the two interests (Cory, 1999, 2004; Elster, 1979; Etzioni, 1986, 1988; Lester, 1993/94; Lutz, 1993; Margolis, 1982) Interests (and subselves) are inherently integrated… a unity within the one self… due to jointness; metaeconomics is not a “multiple selves” theory In contrast to multiple selves theory, metaeconomics facilitates “normative assessment of internal conflict” (as called for by D. George, 2001/2004)

6 Premises… Self-interest and Other-interest arise largely in the instincts, the latter especially being in the subconscious (goes beyond Kahneman, 1993, esp. p. 1451, who sees instincts as emotional) Egoistic-hedonistic pursuit of the self- interest is integrated and balanced with the Empathetic-altruistic pursuit of the other interest, with the possibility for real sacrifice in both domains

7 Premises… Rational choice expanded to include the conscious, empathetic conditioning of self-interest (A. Smith’s, 1759, “third station” to condition the self-interest identified in Smith, 1776; Sen’s, 2002, “impartial spectator based justice”) Resolution of the conflict comes from individuals achieving “peace of mind” through each interest conditioning the other (after Adam Smith; see Wight, 2002); this “peace” is the ultimate objective on a higher plane of understanding

8 Premises… On control (self-control and otherwise): This pursuit of “peace” goes on in an environment with varying degrees of “outside governance” (Angyal, 1941/1967) and perceived individual control (Ajzen, 2002)

9 Premises… Metaeconomic model: Pursue the self-interest Pursue the other-interest Both interests are symbiotically interdependent and nonseparable, joint Freedom to choose is also a matter of choice; consumer sovereignty may legitimately be regulated due to failure in self-discipline to find the integrated balance in the interests


11 Intersections: every decision represents both interests


13 Mathematical Metaeconomics Follows after Frisch (1965, Chp. 14 and 15), and “multi-ware production” concepts Recognizes inherent jointness and nonseparability, limited substitutability in real world consumption and production processes Need a mathematical as well as a qualitative metaeconomics in order to add precision, and meet the competition that is mathematical microeconomics

14 Joint interests functions look quite different: Mathematical… The budget constraint carries subjective elements on price:


16 Demand function becomes: Condition along an 0Z path:

17 Interests frontier appears as:

18 “Tradeoff” in the integrated balance emerges as: “Symbiotic interdependence” and tradeoff emerges as:

19 Mathematical… Final Observation Mathematical metaeconomics holds the potential to ultimately be an even more powerful analytical tool than is mathematical microeconomics Default case is the standard microeconomics model when empirical testing shows no support for an “other- interest” and dual motives

20 The Case of Recycling Actual empirical measurement and testing of metaeconomics (see Kalinowski et al., in review) Telephone based, representative survey of the entire population in Nebraska, USA Metaeconomics goes further than microeconomics in explaining the many anomalies and paradoxes in recycling behavior


22 Intersections like this one occur at every point in this space: The interests are joint, non-separable


24 Metaeconomics References Lynne, G.D. “Divided Self Models of the Socioeconomic Person: The Metaeconomics Approach.” Journal of Socio-Economics 28 (1999), 267-288. Lynne, G.D. “Agricultural Industrialization: A Metaeconomics Look at the Metaphors by Which We Live.” Review of Agricultural Economics 24 (2002): 410-427. Hayes, W.H. and G.D. Lynne. "A Centerpiece for Ecological Economics." Ecological Economics (in press, 2004). Working papers (and this PowerPoint) available at:

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