Behavioral economics in information systems research: critical analysis and research strategies

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Theories of decision-making have long been important foundations for information systems research and much of the information system is concerned with information processing for decision-making. The discipline of behavioral economics provides the dominant contemporary approach for understanding human decision-making. Therefore, it is logical that information systems research that involves decision-making should consider behavioral economics as a foundation or reference theory. Surprisingly, and despite calls for greater use of behavioral economics in information systems research, it seems that information systems has been slow to adopt contemporary behavioral economics as reference theory. This article reports a critical analysis of behavioral economics in all fields of information systems based on an intensive investigation of quality information systems research using bibliometric content analysis. The analysis shows that information systems researchers have a general understanding of behavioral economics, but their use of the theories has an ad hoc feel where only a narrow range of behavioral economic concepts and theories tend to form the foundation of information systems research. The factors constraining the adoption of behavioral economic theories in information systems are discussed and strategies for the use of this influential foundation theory are proposed. Guidance is provided on how behavioral economics could be used in various aspects of information systems. The article concludes with the view that behavioral economic reference theory has the potential to transform significant areas of information systems research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-117
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Information Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • Behavioral economics
  • bounded rationality
  • dual process theory
  • heuristics and biases
  • information systems
  • nudges
  • prospect theory

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