Rational Choice and Rule-Following Behavior

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Rationality and Society. Sage. 2007, 19(4), pp. 425-450. ISSN 1043-4631. eISSN 1461-7358. Available under: doi: 10.1177/1043463107083737
Zusammenfassung

While Rational Choice Theory (RC) may be understood as a theory of choice, which does not necessarily reflect actual deliberative processes, rule-following behavior is definitely based on a certain form of deliberation. This article aims at clarifying the relationship between the two. Being guided by instrumental rules, i.e., rules reducible to the maximization principle, is perfectly consistent with the fundamental behavioral assumptions of RC. But human individuals use other forms of rules in decision making, especially tie-breaking rules and coordination rules. It is argued that within RC no satisfying account of such rule-following behavior can be given. In particular it is impossible to determine suitable preference orderings such that coordinating may be understood as maximizing relative to these orderings. Still, once there is coordination, following a coordination rule may be perfectly consistent with the basic assumptions of RC. So there might be a more complex theory of action that incorporates RC as well as a satisfying theory of rule-guided behavior.

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100 Philosophie
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rationality, rule-following behavior, coordination, maximization, preference
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ISO 690LAHNO, Bernd, 2007. Rational Choice and Rule-Following Behavior. In: Rationality and Society. Sage. 2007, 19(4), pp. 425-450. ISSN 1043-4631. eISSN 1461-7358. Available under: doi: 10.1177/1043463107083737
BibTex
@article{Lahno2007Ratio-51558,
  year={2007},
  doi={10.1177/1043463107083737},
  title={Rational Choice and Rule-Following Behavior},
  number={4},
  volume={19},
  issn={1043-4631},
  journal={Rationality and Society},
  pages={425--450},
  author={Lahno, Bernd}
}
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