IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Rationality and its bounds: Re-framing social framing


  • Matthias Klaes

    (Centre for Economic Research, Keele University, England)


The concept of bounded rationality has been at the forefront of a recent empiricist program in economics which under the heading of ‘behavioral economics ‘ seeks to broaden the rational choice paradigm in the direction of psychology, to the neglect of a similar broadening in the direction of sociology. While a small but increasing number of studies consider the influence of social framing on economic decision making, these studies proceed on an impoverished understanding of the social, treating social framing as inessential in a sense clarified in this chapter, which argues for an essential notion of social framing effects. Starting point is Pareto’s distinction between logical and non-logical action, and an exploration of how the concept of bounded rationality has been employed to broaden the logical action paradigm in economics towards its counterpart of non-logical action. The puzzle of successfully performed transactions in anonymous non-repetitive encounters serves as illustrative context and builds up to the overarching argument that in conceptual terms, social framing needs to be understood in the more general context of human intentionality, where rational behavior can be addressed as a particular kind of intentional response to environmental factors. The paper pursues this argument in the context of social framing by drawing from Pettit’s (1993) dual distinction between atomism ver-sus holism on the one hand, and individualism versus collectivism on the other hand, to introduce a the distinction between essential as opposed to inessential social framing effects. It concludes that departures from psychologistic notions of bounded rationality require a theory of essential social framing, in the sense that the social frames intentional behavior in a constitutive way.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Klaes, 2006. "Rationality and its bounds: Re-framing social framing," SCEME Working Papers: Advances in Economic Methodology 012/2006, SCEME.
  • Handle: RePEc:sti:wpaper:012/2006

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Dorian Jullien, 2013. "Intentional Apple-choice Behaviors: When Amartya Sen Meets John Searle," GREDEG Working Papers 2013-46, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    2. Dorian Jullien, 2013. "Asian Disease-type of Framing of Outcomes as an Historical Curiosity," GREDEG Working Papers 2013-47, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    3. Richard Arena & Lauren Larrouy, 2015. "The Role of Psychology in Austrian Economics and Game Theory: Subjectivity and Coordination," GREDEG Working Papers 2015-15, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.

    More about this item


    bounded-rationality; social-framing;

    JEL classification:

    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology
    • B5 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


    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:sti:wpaper:012/2006. 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: (Matthias Klaes). 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.