Economic Racionality. The Reciprocity Paradox

  • Patrici Calvo
Part of the Ethical Economy book series (SEEP, volume 55)


Self-interest, as the constant maximisation of personal benefit, is one of the fundamental concepts of rational choice theory. Axiomatised through certain assumptions, like those corresponding to greed and insatiability, it has managed to confine the economic agent within the paradigmatic homo oeconomicus figure, a motivationally homogeneous and behaviourally predictable animal, whose only reason for relating with others is because it might improve its own well-being. Nonetheless, the traditional, evolutionary and neuronal version of Game Theory has, over decades, shown that homo oeconomicus has no empirical basis. In highly competitive contexts like economic ones, most agents’ behaviour is influenced by emotional heterogeneity and a moral commitment to what they have good reasons to value, far removed from the vision promoted by neoclassicism. The aim of this chapter is to show the behavioural perspective that underlies different laboratory experiments and field studies conducted with strategy games, especially those resulting from recent neuroeconomic studies, where the role of reciprocity in the field of economics is made clear, along with the emotional and moral aspects making it possible.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrici Calvo
    • 1
  1. 1.Universitat Jaume ICastellón de la PlanaSpain

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