What does the term home economicus refer to?

2 Answers

gbeatty's profile pic

gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The term "homo economicus" means "economic man." This Latin phrase refers to a specific model of humanity that was developed, logically enough, in the field of economics. In this model, humans are seen as selfish, rational beings motivated through self-interest. They act to make things better for themselves, or, to use economic language, to maximize "utility function." This model has been criticized over the years for being too narrow. It doesn’t do a good job of explaining unselfish action, and it doesn't do a good job of explaining acts that make emotional sense but no economic sense.