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The Weak Rationality Principle in Economics

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  • Gebhard Kirchgässner

Abstract

The weak rationality principle is not an empirical statement but a heuristic rule how to proceed in social sciences. It is a necessary ingredient of any understanding’ social science in the Weberian sense. In this paper, first this principle and its role in economic theorizing is discussed. It is also explained why it makes sense to use a micro-foundation and, therefore, employ the rationality assumption in economic models. Then, with reference to the ?bounded rationality’ approach, the informational assumptions are discussed. Third, we address the assumption of self-interest which is often seen as a part of the rationality assumption. We conclude with some remarks of handling the problems of ?free will’ as well as ?weakness of the will’ within the economic approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2004. "The Weak Rationality Principle in Economics," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2004 2004-13, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2004:2004-13
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    Cited by:

    1. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2014. "The role of homo oeconomicus in the political economy of James Buchanan," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 2-17, March.
    2. Kirchgassner, Gebhard, 2005. "(Why) are economists different?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 543-562, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rationality; Self Interest; Micro-Foundation; Bounded Rationality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology

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