Rational Choice Theory in the Subjective World of Politics Term Paper by scribbler

Rational Choice Theory in the Subjective World of Politics
An analysis of the applicability of rational choice theory in the subjective world of politics.
# 152424 | 1,984 words | 4 sources | APA | 2013 | US
Published on Feb 10, 2013 in Political Science (Political Theory)

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The paper explores the perspectives offered by the rational choice theory and analyzes its empirical criteria. The paper goes on to discuss additional criteria that have been developed within other frameworks as a means of establishing empirical objectivity in studies of political science, and shows how some can be misleading and direct investigations away from truly empirical and objective observations and conclusions. The paper analyzes the institutionalism perspective in Theda Skocpol's book "States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China" and notes that social scientists must tread a narrow path between approximation and applicability. The paper concludes that rational choice theory and its tenets of empiricism provide a way of finding a strong balance between empiricism and broadly applicable understandings, while other theories provide greater case-specific certainties without such applicability.

Empirical Criteria in Rational Choice Theory
Criteria in Conflict
The Institutionalism Perspective in Skocpol's States and Social Revolutions

From the Paper:

"A basic understanding of rational choice theory does not provide a clear list of criteria to be applied to observations, hypotheses, and conclusions derived via this conceptual framework, but such a list can be complied through a deeper examination and application of this theory. In order for rational choice theory to maintain both its objectivity and its efficacy, these criteria will have to be clearly and explicitly defined, but at the same time flexible enough to apply to any conceivable political/human choice situation.
"First and foremost, any hypothesis or conclusion in rational choice theory--or in any other framework for political understanding, for that matter--must contain identifiable and measurable factors of influence. Rational choice theory most essentially insists that all human decisions are made based on a weighing of the various influences relevant to the situation--difficulties that will be encountered, costs, benefits that will be accrue, etc. This can even include the strategic knowledge of how one's own choices will be influenced by another's choices--all of these are forces that influence how decisions are made, and each of them can be assigned a tangible value, even if it is only guessed at (one's knowledge and use of strategic rather than sincere decision making might not be known, for instance, but an assumption regarding such knowledge could be made and utilized in an empirical fashion, i.e. "if A knew B's choice, this is an explanation for events X, Y, and Z...) (Bonchek & Shepsle 1997)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Becker, G. (1976). The Economic Approach to Human Behavior. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Fiorina, M. (1995). "Rational Choice and the New(?) Institutionalism." Polity. 28. 107-115.
  • Shepsle, K. & Bonchek, M. (1997). Analyzing Politics: Rationality, Behavior and Institutions. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., Inc.
  • Skocpol, T. (1979). States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Rational Choice Theory in the Subjective World of Politics (2013, February 10) Retrieved July 10, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/term-paper/rational-choice-theory-in-the-subjective-world-of-politics-152424/

MLA Format

"Rational Choice Theory in the Subjective World of Politics" 10 February 2013. Web. 10 July. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/term-paper/rational-choice-theory-in-the-subjective-world-of-politics-152424/>