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The Bounded Rationality Theory, the Rational Choice Theory or the Methodological Individualism

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  • Boudon Raymond

    (Académie des Sciences Morales et politiques)

Abstract

The bounded rationality theory (BRT) has been perceived by social scientists as a more flexible version of the rational choice theory (RCT), also called expected utility theory. The former has the avantage of taking into consideration the fact that information is generally costly. It corrects the RCT on an important point. For the social sciences, the RCT is very useful, but far from representing a general theory which could explain the various kinds of behaviour the social sciences are confronted to, even in its more flexible BRT version. The article makes the postulates underlying the RCT and the BRT explicit and shows that, when some of the postulates are eliminated, a genuinely general model is obtained: the model which is actually used in convincing sociological analyses.La Théorie de la rationalité limitée (TRL) a été perçue par les sciences sociales comme une version assouplie de la théorie du choix rationnel (TCR), aussi appelée Modèle de lutilité espérée. La TRL a lavantage de tenir compte notamment du fait que linformation est généralement coûteuse, corrigeant ainsi lirréalisme de la TCR sur un point essentiel. Du point de vue des sciences sociales, la TCR est fort utile, mais elle est loin de proposer une théorie générale de la rationalité permettant de rendre compte des divers types de comportement dont les sciences sociales ont à connaître, même dans sa version assouplie de la TRL. On identifie ici les postulats de la TCR et de la TRL et lon montre quen abandonnant certains de ces postulats, lon définit un modèle, le MRG (modèle rationnel général) qui, lui, peut prétendre à la généralité. Cest celui qui est utilisé naturellement par les analyses sociologiques qui ses sont imposées.

Suggested Citation

  • Boudon Raymond, 2004. "The Bounded Rationality Theory, the Rational Choice Theory or the Methodological Individualism," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 14(1), pages 1-20, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:14:y:2004:i:1:n:2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
    2. Kirchgassner, Gebhard & Pommerehne, Werner W., 1996. "Tax harmonization and tax competition in the European Union: Lessons from Switzerland," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 351-371.
    3. Feld, Lars P. & Kirchgassner, Gebhard, 2001. "Income tax competition at the State and Local Level in Switzerland," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, pages 181-213.
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