| Journal of Economic Perspectives
Adam Smith, Behavioral Economist
Adam Smith's psychological perspective in The Theory of Moral Sentiments is remarkably similar to "dual-process" frameworks advanced by psychologists, neuroscientists, and more recently by behavioral economists, based on behavioral data and detailed observations of brain functioning. It also anticipates a wide range of insights regarding phenomena such as loss aversion, willpower, and fairness that have been the focus of modern behavioral economics. This essay draws attention to some of these connections.