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The Source of Optimality in Action



It is well known that the nature of the information set and the axioms of rational choice are critical in determining the type of ranking on which agents are held to act in economic theory. This paper argues that the concept of the optimizing agent is also sensitive to the conception of the relation between a ranking of options facing an agent, and concrete action: what is termed the realization process. Three conceptions of the realization process are examined, which are seen to lead to three quite distinct views on the role of agency, the enabling conditions under which the concept of the optimizing agent may be legitimately applied, and the resulting domain of application of optimization. Copyright 1997 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Fedderke, J W, 1997. "The Source of Optimality in Action," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 339-363, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:21:y:1997:i:3:p:339-63

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