IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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


  • Boudon Raymond

    (Académie des Sciences Morales et politiques)


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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:14:y:2004:i:1:n:2. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.