Skip to content
Open global navigation

Cambridge University Press

AcademicLocation selectorSearch toggleMain navigation toggle

Your Cart


You have 0 items in your cart.

Register Sign in Wishlist

Individuals and Identity in Economics

$39.99 (P)

  • Date Published: September 2010
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521173537

$39.99 (P)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This book examines the different conceptions of the individual that have emerged in recent new approaches in economics, including behavioral economics, experimental economics, social preferences approaches, game theory, neuroeconomics, evolutionary and complexity economics, and the capability approach. These conceptions are classified according to whether they seek to revise the traditional atomist individual conception, put new emphasis on interaction and relations between individuals, account for individuals as evolving and self-organizing, and explain individuals in terms of capabilities. The method of analysis uses two identity criteria for distinguishing and re-identifying individuals to determine whether these different individual conceptions successfully identify individuals. Successful individual conceptions account for sub-personal and supra-personal bounds on single individual explanations. The former concerns the fragmentation of individuals into multiple selves; the latter concerns the dissolution of individuals into the social. The book develops an understanding of bounded individuality, seen as central to the defense of human rights.

    • Systematically addresses recent new approaches in economics including behavioral economics
    • One of the few recent titles to concentrate on the identity of the individual in economics
    • Develops a conception of the individual for the capability approach
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    “This book provides a breathtaking survey of the recent invasion of economic psychology into the very heartland of economics, concerned as it is – and to some extent always has been – with the conception of individuals and their identity in economic life. The author has written before on individuality in economics but never as comprehensively and sure-footedly as in this new book.” – Mark Blaug, University of London; University of Buckingham

    “A wonderful follow-up to John Davis’s previous book on the individual in economics. Few economists think as deeply or as creatively about the building blocks of economic theory as does John.” – David Colander, Middlebury College

    “Many dilemmas in economic modeling arise only because we treat agent identities as fixed outside of theory. As John Davis appreciates, this is in fact another aspect of the world about which economists must make modeling choices. In this book he gives us the first comprehensive survey of the options developed so far, and of their far-reaching consequences.” – Don Ross, University of Cape Town

    “Davis’s excellent account of changing ideas of the individual in recent economics is rigorous and compelling. Most importantly, however, it shows why transforming our understanding of the individual is necessary in order to defend democracy and human rights.” – Robert Urquhart, University of Denver

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521173537
    • length: 270 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 154 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.37kg
    • contains: 2 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: the individual in economics
    Part I. Atomism Revised:
    2. Psychology's challenge to economics: rationality and the individual
    3. Multiple selves and self-control: contextualizing individuality
    4. Social identity and social preferences in the utility function
    Part II. Interaction:
    5. The individual in game theory: from fixed points to experiments
    6. Multiple selves in interaction: teams and neuroscience
    7. Evolutionary conceptions of the individual: identity through change
    Part III. Socially Embedded Individuals:
    8. Evolution and capabilities: human heterogeneity
    9. The identity of individuals and the economics of identity
    10. Economic policy, democracy, and justice.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Business and Industrial Psychology
  • Author

    John B. Davis, Marquette University, Wisconsin; University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    John B. Davis is Professor and Chair of History and Philosophy of Economics at the University of Amsterdam; Professor of Economics at Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Fellow at the Tinbergen Institute, Erasmus University, Rotterdam. He is the author of Keynes's Philosophical Development (Cambridge University Press, 1994) and The Theory of the Individual in Economics (2003), which was a co-winner of the 2004 Myrdal Prize from the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy. He is a co-editor with Wade Hands and Uskali Mäki of The Handbook of Economic Methodology (1998) and a co-editor with Warren Samuels and Jeff Biddle of The Blackwell Companion to the History of Economic Thought (2003). Professor Davis has published in journals such as the Cambridge Journal of Economics, the Economic Journal, the Review of Political Economy, the History of Political Economy and the Journal of Economic Methodology. Professor Davis is a past President of the History of Economics Society, a past Chair of the International Network for Economic Method and past President of the Association for Social Economics. He is a past editor of the Review of Social Economy and is currently co-editor with Wade Hands of the Journal of Economic Methodology.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Back to top

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.

Cancel Delete

Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.