What does homo economicus want?

André Lapied and Sophie Swaton

Table of Contents


R. Robb (2009a) has recently initiated a reconciliation of the will to power from Nietzsche’s philosophy with economics and, more specifically, with the modeling of agents’ behavior. He wanted to highlight the inconsistency of the standard economic approach with the will to power, on the one hand, and presents examples that supposedly show that, in many situations, the second has a higher explanatory power than the first, on the second hand. This thesis gives rise to a controversy on these two points with J. J. Heckman (2009). This polemic has many shortcomings due to a superficial and sometimes erroneous conception of Nietzsche’s philosophy, supported by the use of a source that is well-known as being faulty. This article aims to reassess the controversy, based on Nietzsche’s text as restored by Colli and Montinari. We try to draw a better lesson from Nietzsche’s philosophy for agents’ behavior.

JEL classification: D 11


  • Nietzsche
  • will to power
  • behaviour

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