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On Thoughtless Rationality (Rules-of-Thumb)


  • Etzioni, Amitai


The recognition of the existence of imperfect information in decision making and the cognitive li mitations of the human mind put various assumptions of the neoclassic al economic paradigm in doubt. Neoclassical economists re-sponded by arguing that decision rules, or rules-of-thumb, can be used to render decision with-out processing information. Further, neoclassi-cists h ave suggested that rational rules compete against and drive out irrat ional ones. This paper focuses on the use of rules-of-thumb and posit s that the empirical evidence about the rationality of these rules is dubious and that they logically cannot serve as a basis for rational conduct. Copyright 1987 by WWZ and Helbing & Lichtenhahn Verlag AG

Suggested Citation

  • Etzioni, Amitai, 1987. "On Thoughtless Rationality (Rules-of-Thumb)," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 496-514.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:40:y:1987:i:4:p:496-514

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Why Do So Many Young American Men Commit Crimes and What Might We Do about It?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 25-42, Winter.
    2. Angela K. Dills & Jeffrey A. Miron & Garrett Summers, 2010. "What Do Economists Know about Crime?," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 269-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. H. Naci Mocan & Daniel I. Rees, 2005. "Economic Conditions, Deterrence and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from Micro Data," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 319-349.
    5. Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Juvenile Crime and Punishment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1156-1185, December.
    6. Andrew W. Horowitz & Julie R. Trivitt, 2007. "Does Child Labor Reduce Youth Crime?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 559-573, November.
    7. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-290, June.
    8. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-791, October.
    9. Cameron, Samuel, 1988. "The Economics of Crime Deterrence: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 301-323.
    10. Keith R. Ihlanfeldt, 2007. "Neighborhood Drug Crime and Young Males' Job Accessibility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 151-164, February.
    11. Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Crime and the Employment of Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lin, C.Y. Cynthia & Muehlegger, Erich J., 2009. "Heuristic Strategies, Firm Behavior and Industry Information," Working Papers 225898, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    2. Lin, C.-Y. Cynthia & Muehlegger, Erich J., 2013. "On the use of heuristics to approximate competitors’ private information," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 10-23.

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