Importance Of Rational Choice Theory

1127 Words5 Pages
Is rational choice theory and the idea of human beings as utility maximisers useful as a tool for explaining political problems?

In the attempt of explaining and understanding the behaviour of human beings and politicians when faced with political problems many theories have been tested. Over the 20th and coming in to the 21st century, rational choice theory has grown in status and become one of the presiding theories for human behaviour. In political science, rational choice theory presumes that the individual’s choices help us understand the behaviour of institutions. However, the theory has been placed under constant scrutiny and problems in the theories assumptions have been shown. My aim in this essay is to analyse the key points of Rational choice theory and humans as utility maximisers, and whether it is a useful tool in political problems. The dominant school of thought that transcended across many different academic fields such as economics, political science and psychology in the twentieth century is that of rational choice theory. Rational choice theory is an attempt to analyse human behaviour in a more ‘scientific’ manner. It assumes that human beings, performing as self-interested rational beings would always act as rational consumers in economic terms. Therefore, agents make decisions with the sole purpose of maximising their personal utility while minimising their personal input to achieve the outcome. Patrick Neal (Neal, 1988) suggests that the nature of

More about Importance Of Rational Choice Theory

Open Document