The choice wasn't easy, and I may be influenced by my research interests, but here is what I think are the most important papers in the field:
- Camerer, C., Loewenstein, G., & Prelec, D. (2005). Neuroeconomics: How neuroscience can inform economics. Journal of Economic Literature, 43(1), 9-64.
Written by famous behavioral economists, this extensive review paper suggests how economics can be theoretically and empirically informed by neuroeconomics.
- Glimcher, P. W., & Rustichini, A. (2004). Neuroeconomics: The Consilience of Brain and Decision. Science, 306(5695), 447-452.
An analysis of the theoretical relationship between biology, economics, neuroscience and psychology.
- Sanfey, A. G., Rilling, J. K., Aronson, J. A., Nystrom, L. E., & Cohen, J. D. (2003). The neural basis of economic decision-making in the Ultimatum Game. Science, 300(5626), 1755-1758.
Famous paper showing that unfair offers elicit activity in the anterior insula, an area associated with disgust (but not when they interact with a computer).
- Zak, P. J. (2004). Neuroeconomics. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 359(1451), 1737-1748.
A review paper that provides a complete introduction to neuroscience (methods, brain functions, etc.) and neuroeconomics.
- Kosfeld, M., Heinrichs, M., Zak, P. J., Fischbacher, U., & Fehr, E. (2005). Oxytocin increases trust in humans. Nature, 435(7042), 673-676.
Subjects who received oxytocin via nasal spray are more trusting.
- Rilling, J., Gutman, D., Zeh, T., Pagnoni, G., Berns, G., & Kilts, C. (2002). A neural basis for social cooperation. Neuron, 35(2), 395-405.
Players who initiate and players who experiment mutual cooperation display activation in nucleus accumbens and other reward-related areas.
- de Quervain, D. J., Fischbacher, U., Treyer, V., Schellhammer, M., Schnyder, U., Buck, A., et al. (2004). The neural basis of altruistic punishment. Science, 305(5688), 1254-1258.
Punishing cheaters, in the trust game, activates the nucleus accumbens, a subcortical structure involved in pleasure.
- Montague, P. R., & Berns, G. S. (2002). Neural Economics and the Biological Substrates of Valuation. Neuron, 36(2), 265-284.
One of the first application of utility theory to dopaminergic systems.
- McCabe, K., Houser, D., Ryan, L., Smith, V., & Trouard, T. (2001). A functional imaging study of cooperation in two-person reciprocal exchange. PNAS, 98(20), 11832-11835.
The first imaging study in game theory. Decision-makers are more likely to cooperate with real humans than with computers and cooperators have a significantly different brain activation in the two conditions.
- Platt, M. L., & Glimcher, P. W. (1999). Neural correlates of decision variables in parietal cortex. Nature, 400(6741), 238.
The first genuine neuroeconomics paper. Lateral intraparietal area (LIP) activity predicts visual-saccadic decision-making, encode the desirabilities of making particular movements.My critera are citations, influence, historical/theoretical importance and relevance for understanding decision-making