Economics and psychology: Economic psychology according to James Mill and John Stuart Mill
Review articleOpen access
2008/12/01 Full-length article DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2008.03.001
Journal: Journal of Economic Psychology
AbstractJames and John Stuart Mill contributed to shaping both political economy and academic psychology. Their main publications in economics and psychology reflected the state of the art in both sciences and gave new impetus to the thinking. The paper examines to what extent they used academic psychology in their economic writings and economics in their psychological writings. The upshot is that there was little cross-fertilization. The psychological assumptions underlying economics, economic psychology in its basic sense, were in their treatment based on common-sense psychology and not on academic psychology. In his treatise on psychology in which he reviewed current academic psychology, James Mill devoted some chapters to motives related to money and wealth. He thus approached economic psychology in a psychological context. His son John Stuart succinctly formulated the idea of the economic man and explored in depth the simple psychological law that ‘a greater gain is preferred to the smaller’. He propounded an important division of labor between economics and psychology.
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