Rational Choice Theory In International Study

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What value the philosophy of rational choice theory holds in the field of international studies has been debated for many years. In this debate, there has not been one acceptable version of the idea of rationality, with one view stating that rationality is in essence about the consistency of behaviour, whereas another view is that rationality is in actual fact about maximising explicit benefits (Hodgson 94). The theory has been used as the dominant theoretical paradigm in economics, but its use has spread in the past few decades especially becoming ubiquitous in the other disciplines of International Studies, such as political science, with each using the theory in different ways. As a proposed improvement to the pitfalls of rational choice…show more content…
Heuristics are simple rules of mind for making decisions based off realistic cognitive abilities, providing the ability to make smart decisions quickly using minimal information and exploiting the way that information is structured in specific situations (Todd and Gigerenzer 2000 p727). Humans are able to unconsciously process the given information faster and more economically that to think consciously about the given situation, taking shortcuts in order to save time in our daily lives, especially if the decision is not very important. Heuristics explains why a decision maker avoids rational thinking based on the information in front of…show more content…
Its limits in political science are by oversimplifying of the political landscape to an idealised version where all agents are rational whilst also ignoring political culture. The theory, in practice, also fails to recognize non-economic and/or non-egoistic motives, someone donating to charity mas be seen as altruistic or selfish, this cannot be falsified. Furthermore, the notion that all decisions must be considered rational, regardless of whether the decision seems irrational, the decision must be rational otherwise it would not have been made. The theory is only able to provide useful models in particular situations where the idealised assumptions are limited and can be accurately measured to a point they can be proven correct. It focuses on generality but fails to consider certain socio-economic features and therefore is significantly limited in explaining real world behaviour of decision makers. On the other hand, bounded rationality theory provides a more accurate view to real life human behaviour as it takes into account the constraints on the information processing capabilities of the decision maker whist still maintaining generality. Furthermore, this bounded approach to rationality uses ‘satisficing’ and ‘heuristics’ to explain real life decision making when the search for the optimal solution
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