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Bounded Rationality, Ambiguity, and the Engineering of Choice


  • James G. March


Rational choice involves two guesses, a guess about uncertain future consequences and a guess about uncertain future preferences. Partly as a result of behavioral studies of choice over a twenty-year period, modifications in the way the theory deals with the first guess have become organized into conceptions of bounded rationality. Recently behavioral studies of choice have examined the second guess, the way preferences are processed in choice behavior. These studies suggest possible modifications in standard assumptions about taste and their role in choice. This paper examines some of those modifications, some possible approaches to working on them, and some complications.

Suggested Citation

  • James G. March, 1978. "Bounded Rationality, Ambiguity, and the Engineering of Choice," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 587-608, Autumn.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:9:y:1978:i:autumn:p:587-608

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edwin Mansfield & John Rapoport & Anthony Romeo & Samuel Wagner & George Beardsley, 1977. "Social and Private Rates of Return from Industrial Innovations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 91(2), pages 221-240.
    2. Mansfield, Edwin, 1980. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 863-873, December.
    3. Berndt, Ernst R & Christensen, Laurits R, 1974. "Testing for the Existence of a Consistent Aggregate Index of Labor Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 391-404, June.
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