By the late 1990s, several converging trends in economics, psychology, and neuroscience had set the stage for the birth of a new scientific field known as “neuroeconomics”. As with any emerging discipline – consider for example mathematical economics, econometrics or experimental economics at different times – neuroeconomics is rather controversial with economists. It raises a large number of empirical, methodological and philosophical questions resulting in debates and controversies that this article reviews and discusses by addressing three major issues concerning the contribution made so far to knowledge: Is it reliable? Is it scientifically legitimate? Is it useful for economists? Without claiming to be exhaustive, this analytical framework enables understanding of the thrust of the major criticisms of neuroeconomics. At the same time, the paper sheds light on the nature of the responses likely to be provided in view of the conceptual and empirical progresses made in the field since its emergence and considering the turn identified in the agenda of neuroeconomics over the last decade.
Controversies around neuroeconomics: Empirical, methodological and philosophical issues
3 May 2021