The Weak Rationality Principle in Economics
AbstractThe weak rationality principle is not an empirical statement but a heuristic rule for how to proceed in social sciences. It is a necessary ingredient of any 'understanding' social science in the Weberian sense. In this paper, first this principle and its role in economic theorizing are discussed. It is also explained why it makes sense to use a micro-foundation and, therefore, to employ the rationality assumption in economic models. Then, we discuss whether the anomalies of individual behaviour as highlighted in modern behavioural economics impair the applicability of the weak rationality principle. This is not the case. We conclude with some remarks on handling the problems of 'free will' as well as 'weakness of the will' within the economic approach.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES) in its journal Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics.
Volume (Year): 149 (2013)
Issue (Month): I (March)
Contact details of provider:
Postal: c/o SNB/BNS, Börsenstrasse 15, PO Box 2800, CH-8022 Zürich
Phone: +41 (0)44 631 32 34
Fax: +41 (0)44 631 39 01
Web page: http://www.sjes.ch
More information through EDIRC
Rationality; Self-Interest; Micro-Foundation; Bounded Rationality;
Other versions of this item:
- Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2004. "The Weak Rationality Principle in Economics," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2004 2004-13, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
- Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2005. "The Weak Rationality Principle in Economics," CESifo Working Paper Series 1410, CESifo Group Munich.
- B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- H. M. Shefrin & Richard Thaler, 1977.
"An Economic Theory of Self-Control,"
NBER Working Papers
0208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Sugden, Robert, 1985. "Why Be Consistent? A Critical Analysis of Consistency Requirements in Choice Theory," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 52(206), pages 167-83, May.
- Andreoni, James, 1988. "Privately provided public goods in a large economy: The limits of altruism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 57-73, February.
- Sen, Amartya, 1994. "The Formulation of Rational Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 385-90, May.
- Schelling, Thomas C, 1984. "Self-Command in Practice, in Policy, and in a Theory of Rational Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 1-11, May.
- Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
- Armen A. Alchian, 1950. "Uncertainty, Evolution, and Economic Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 211.
- Viktor Vanberg, 2004. "The rationality postulate in economics: its ambiguity, its deficiency and its evolutionary alternative," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 1-29.
- Brennan, Geoffrey & Pincus, Jonathan, 1987. "Rational Actor Theory in Politics: A Critical Review of John Quiggin," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 63(180), pages 22-32, March.
- John Conlisk, 1996. "Why Bounded Rationality?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 669-700, June.
- Simon, Herbert A, 1978. "Rationality as Process and as Product of Thought," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 1-16, May.
- Charles L. Evans, 1994.
"The post-war U.S. Phillips curve: a comment,"
Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues
94-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
- Evans, Charles L., 1994. "The post-war U.S. Phillips curve a comment," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 221-230, December.
- Ronald Heiner, 1990. "Rule-governed behavior in evolution and human society," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, December.
- Fehr, Ernst & Gachter, Simon, 1998. "Reciprocity and economics: The economic implications of Homo Reciprocans1," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 845-859, May.
- Santomero, Anthony M & Seater, John J, 1978. "The Inflation-Unemployment Trade-off: A Critique of the Literature," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 499-544, June.
- Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
- Simon, Herbert A., 1978.
"Rational Decision-Making in Business Organizations,"
Nobel Prize in Economics documents
1978-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
- Simon, Herbert A, 1979. "Rational Decision Making in Business Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(4), pages 493-513, September.
- Heiner, Ronald A, 1983. "The Origin of Predictable Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 560-95, September.
- Hartmut Kliemt, 1984. "Nicht-explanative Funktionen eines "Homo oeconomicus" und Beschränkungen seiner explanativen Rolle," Homo Oeconomicus, Institute of SocioEconomics, vol. 2, pages 7-49.
- Arrow, Kenneth J, 1986. "Rationality of Self and Others in an Economic System," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S385-99, October.
- Schlicht, Ekkehart, . "Grundlagen der ökonomischen Analyse," Monographs in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics, number 891, April.
- Quiggin, John, 1987. "Egoistic Rationality and Public Choice: A Critical Review of Theory and Evidence," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 63(180), pages 10-21, March.
- George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213.
- Schelling, Thomas C, 1978. "Egonomics, or the Art of Self-Management," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 290-94, May.
- Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2004.
"(Why) Are Economists Different?,"
University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2004
2004-18, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Steiner).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.