Chapter

The Cognitive and Behavioral The Cognitive and Behavioral Economics of Envy

Daniel John Zizzo

in Envy

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780195327953
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199301485 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327953.003.0011
The Cognitive and Behavioral  The Cognitive and Behavioral  Economics of Envy

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This chapter considers envy from the perspective of cognitive and behavioral economics, a perspective having some different assumptions from many of the disciplines represented in this book. It begins by describing the mainstream economic approach to envy and its direct cognitive aspects. It then reviews some relevant applications and evidence. It argues that its welfare implications depend on how the envy-induced rat races are perceived to be taking place. In this sense, from an economic viewpoint, it is not the case that envy is good or bad, but rather that it is good or bad based on the outcomes it produces, and these differ depending on the context and on how the economic situation is perceived by the economic agents. The chapter also discusses limitations; although envy as a motivation is increasingly well understood, the cognitive economics of envy (and other negative emotions) is much less so.

Keywords: envy; cognitive economics; behavioral economics

Chapter.  10551 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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