Rational Choice Theory Advocacy And Critique Pdf

rational choice theory advocacy and critique pdf

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In this article we argue that rational choice theory can play a progressive role in unifying theoretical and empirical work in sociology. The basis of rational choice theorizing is outlined, and it is argued that important ideas of Karl Popper, Max Weber, and Robert K. Merton properly belong in this tradition. Three elements in rational choice theorizing are deemed particularly essential for explanatory sociological theory: the principle of methodological individualism, the analytical mode of theorizing, and the notion of intentional explanation. The article also contains a critique of variable-centred research for paying insufficient attention to the role of actions and intentions in generating the data being observed.

Contributions of Rational Choice Theory to Modern Sociology: An Overview

Rational choice theory explains social phenomena as outcomes of individual choices that can—in some way—be construed as rational. Rational choice theory comes in many varieties, depending on the assumptions that are made concerning preferences, beliefs, and constraints—the key elements of all rational choice explanations.

Preferences denote the positive or negative evaluations individuals attach to possible outcomes of their actions. Preferences can have many roots, ranging from culturally transmitted tastes for food or other items to personal habits and commitments. Constraints define the limits to the set of feasible actions. Being a general theory of action, rational choice theory can be, and has been, applied to explain social phenomena in almost any subfield of the social and behavioral sciences, although the section on Selected Applications of Rational Choice Theory can present only an idiosyncratic fraction of these applications.

Whereas rational choice theory constitutes the theoretical core of economics, it faces considerable criticism in other branches of the social and behavioral sciences. Much of this criticism rests on major misconceptions of the approach and fails to incorporate the considerable advancements that the approach has made during the past two decades.

The section on Critique and Advocacy of Rational Choice Theory lists some main contributions to this debate.

The article concludes with a selection of Informative Popularizations of Rational Choice Theory of the approach: easy and stimulating reads that apply the core ideas of the approach to a large variety of phenomena. They are complemented by two article-length texts explicating the foundations of the approach in more detail Voss and Abraham , Goldthorpe Udehn offers an in-depth comparison of different varieties of individualistic explanations.

Lichbach helps to position the rational choice approach in the broader context of other meta-theoretical paradigms. Lindenberg is useful because it contrasts the micro models of economics and sociology. Goldthorpe, J. Rational action theory for sociology. British Journal of Sociology DOI: Argues that varieties of rational choice theory can be distinguished along three dimensions: the strength of their rationality requirements, their focus on situational versus procedural rationality, and their claim to be a general versus a specific theory of action.

Helps to locate different varieties of the approach in the resulting multidimensional space. Rational choice and sociology. In The new Palgrave dictionary of economics. Edited by S. Durlauf and L. Blume, — Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Refers to the work of the key scholars contributing to the emergence of the rational choice approach in sociology.

Discusses empirical achievements of the rational choice approach and explicates the differences between sociological and economic versions of the approach as well as its standing within sociology. Lichbach, M. Is rational choice theory all of social science?

Ann Arbor: Univ. Particularly useful for a systematic comparison of the rational choice approach with the two other social science paradigms, culturalism and structuralism. Also pays attention to the possibilities and limitations of strategies trying to integrate the different approaches. Lindenberg, S. An assessment of the new political economy: Its potential for the social sciences and for sociology in particular. Sociological Theory 3.

Still the most in-depth analysis of the different conceptualizations of human nature in economics and sociology. Discusses assumptions about human nature along the dimensions of resourcefulness, restrictions, expectations, evaluations, and maximizing the RREEMM-model. Rational choice theory. In International encyclopedia of economic sociology. Edited by J. Beckert and M. Zafirovski, — New York: Routledge. A concise and well-structured general overview of the rational choice approach and its application in economic sociology.

Udehn, L. Methodological individualism: Background, history, and meaning. London: Routledge. One of the most comprehensive treatments of the philosophical roots of the individualism assumption, a key element of the rational choice approach.

Voss, T. Rational choice theory in sociology: A survey. In The international handbook of sociology. Quah and A.

Sales, 50— London: SAGE. This general overview has four parts: history of the approach, assumptions about human nature, explanations of social norms, and an overview of applications in diverse fields of sociology. The very transparent presentation of core assumptions addresses some common misconceptions and contains a very useful section on limitations, alternatives, and extensions.

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Public choice

Public choice , or public choice theory , is "the use of economic tools to deal with traditional problems of political science ". In political science, it is the subset of positive political theory that studies self-interested agents voters, politicians, bureaucrats and their interactions, which can be represented in a number of ways — using for example standard constrained utility maximization, game theory , or decision theory. Public choice analysis has roots in positive analysis "what is" but is often used for normative purposes "what ought to be" in order to identify a problem or to suggest improvements to constitutional rules i. Public choice theory is also closely related to social choice theory , a mathematical approach to aggregation of individual interests, welfares, or votes. Since voter behavior influences the behavior of public officials, public-choice theory often uses results from social-choice theory.


PDF | On Jul 1, , Axel van den Berg and others published Rational Choice Theory: Advocacy and Critique. | Find, read and cite all the.


Assessing the Utility of Rational Choice Theory in Least Developed Countries

Everyone thinks chiefly of his own, hardly at all of the common interest. RCT has its basis in neoclassical economics, which in itself is greatly varied but is based on some key assumptions that form the basis of RCT. The actions of why fishermen overfish in their fisheries eliminating species depleting the health of their own stock, hampering their own futures can be easily understood with knowledge of RCT.

Rational choice and neoliberal theories of the intellectual commons: A critical analysis

Duplicate citations

The system can't perform the operation now. Try again later. Citations per year. Duplicate citations. The following articles are merged in Scholar.

This article assesses a rational-choice model of bureaucratic behaviour - the bureau-shaping model - as an explanation of budget-making in British local government. The bureau-shaping model is essentially a reconstructed rational-choice model of bureaucratic behaviour in liberal democratic states, which emerged from critiques of its rival budgetmaximising model. The explanatory power of the bureau-shaping model is significantly superior to the budget-maximising model. However, the explanatory power of the bureaushaping model is limited because, as a supply-side model, it cannot explain how budgets are demanded and controlled by political sponsors, who in turn are constrained politically. Budgetary decision-making takes place in a political arena where both supply and demand are mediated; a supply-side model, at best, can explain only half the budget-story. Cope, S.

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Rational choice theory explains social phenomena as outcomes of individual choices that can—in some way—be construed as rational.

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