Economics Dictionary of Arguments

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Rational choice: Rational choice in economics is the idea that individuals make decisions by weighing the costs and benefits of each option and choosing the option that they believe will maximize their own utility. Rational choice theory is based on the assumption that individuals are rational actors who are motivated by self-interest. See also Rationality, Utility, Benefit, Actions, Action theory.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Public Choice Theory on Rational Choice - Dictionary of Arguments

Parisi I 182
Rational choice/Public choice theory/Farber: The key assumption underlying nearly all work in public choice is rational choice (Mashaw, 2010,(1) p. 21). Whether they are voters, politicians, or lobbyists, political actors make reasoned, consistent decisions, based on their beliefs about the world and their preferences about outcomes.
Idealization: Often, the simplifying assumption is made that they are seeking their own self-interest, but this modeling choice is not an inherent feature of public choice analysis.
Actions/goals: Actions do not necessarily turn out to yield their desired outcomes. But actions are presumed to be optimal ex ante, given the actors' expectations about the world and the objectives they are trying to achieve. The concept of rationality underlying public choice is instrumentalist: actions are chosen because of their capacity to produce desired outcomes, not because of ethical precepts relating to the intrinsic nature of the action (Shepsle, 2010(2), pp. 23-27).
>Collective action/Public choice theory
, >Public law/Public choice theory.

1. Mashaw, J. (2010). "Public Law and Public Choice: Critique and Rapprochement," in D. A.
Farber and A. J. O'Connell, eds., Research Handbook on Public Choice and Public Law, 19-48. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.
2. Shepsle, K. A. (2010). Analyzing Politics: Rationality, Behavior, and Institutions. 2nd edition.
New York: W.W. Norton & co.

Farber, Daniel A. “Public Choice Theory and Legal Institutions”. In: Parisi, Francesco (ed) (2017). The Oxford Handbook of Law and Economics. Vol 1: Methodology and Concepts. NY: Oxford University Press

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Public Choice Theory
Parisi I
Francesco Parisi (Ed)
The Oxford Handbook of Law and Economics: Volume 1: Methodology and Concepts New York 2017

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