Sociology Index

Rational Choice Theory

Rational choice theory is an empirical evidence theory of human behavior. Rational choice theory is also known as rational action theory. The 'rationality' in rational choice theory is different from the colloquial meaning of rationality. Most empirical applications of rational choice employ a typical value assumption, that actors are motivated to pursue private and instrumental goods. Social exchange theory is linked to structuralism and rational choice theory. Pathologies of Rational Choice Analysis was much better designed to illustrate methodological failings than to sustain a global claim that rational choice theory has made no empirical contributions.

There is empirically confirmed content specific to rational choice theory. Rational choice theory also focuses on the determinants of the individual choices or methodological individualism. Rational choice theory assumes that an individual has preferences among the available choice alternatives. During the last two decades, there has been an explosion of rational choice scholarship in the social sciences.

Rational Choice Theory Abstracts

Green and Shapiro have argued that rational choice theory has produced virtually no new propositions about politics that have been carefully tested and not found wanting; and that an empirically successful rational choice theory would be no more universal than the middle-level theories that they advocate. - The Empirical Content of Rational Choice Theory - A Reply to Green and Shapiro Gary W. Cox.

Macro-sociology, Rational Choice Theory, and Time - A Theoretical Perspective on the Empirical Analysis of Social Processes - Hans-Peter Blossfeld.

A response to the critique of rational choice theory: Lakatos' and Laudan's conceptions applied - Kaisa Herne, Maija Setl. Abstract: Analyses the main features of rational choice theory and evaluates it with respect to the conceptions of Lakatos' research program and Laudan's research tradition. It is argued that rational choice theory cannot be characterized as a research program. It is argued that Laudan's conception of a research tradition better characterizes rational choice theory. Certain important criticisms of rational choice theory are answered. Core assumptions of rational choice theory are countered. It is argued that post hoc theory development is a better strategy for developing rational choice theory.

The Role of Values in Rational Choice Theory - Michael Hechter. Rationality and Society. Proposes guidelines for thinking about the use of value assumptions in rational choice theory. When instrumental and immanent values are substitutable, use of the typical value assumption is justifiable.

How to model a rational choice theory of criminal action? Subjective expected utilities, norms, and interactions - Mehlkop, Guido and Graeff, Peter. Abstract: Classic modelling of criminal behaviour in Rational Choice Theory. The decision of an actor is influenced by the expected utility of the crime and the norms which prohibit the delinquent action.

Why Rational Choice Theory Requires a Multilevel Constitutional Approach to International Economic Law - The Case for Reforming the WTO's Enforcement Mechanism - Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann.
Abstract: Realism, liberalism, institutionalism and constitutionalism offer complementary rather than mutually exclusive analytical approaches and policy strategies. There are strong arguments in favor of reforming the WTO's enforcement mechanisms so as to better protect consumer welfare and other general citizen interests in open markets and judicial protection of rule of law.