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Two Concerns about Rational Choice: Indoctrination and Imperialism

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  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Stephan Meier

Abstract

Rational Choice Theory is often criticized to indoctrinate students in a negative, which is supported by some laboratory experiments. But do students of Rational Choice Theory really behave more selfishly? This paper presents evidence from a natural decision on voluntary donation at the University of Zurich. The analysis of the very large panel data set reaches significant different results than previous studies: Rational Choice Theory does not indoctrinate students. However, there are good other reasons to criticize Rational Choice Theory. The paper argues that ideas from other social sciences should be imported to improve the theory. Three elements are presented which lead to new and different policy conclusions.

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Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 104.

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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:104

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Keywords: Rational Choice; Public Goods; Giving Behavior; Education; Behavioral Economics;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Reto Föllmi & Urs Meister, . "Product-Market Competition in the Water Industry: Voluntarily Nondiscriminatory Pricing," IEW - Working Papers, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich 115, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.

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