Rational Choice Theory and Irrational Decisions - Essay Example

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Rational Choice Theory and Irrational Decisions

The last decades have been characterized by the widely spread opinion, that any political behavior, especially in the area of international relations can be explained on the basis of the rational choice. On the contrary, certain political scientists have also argued as for the relevance and universality of the present theory in terms of international political decisions. The core of the rational choice approach is that 'people always try to maximize their interests', (Ferejohn & Satz, 1996); in regional politics this maximization may be connected with the desire of people to vote for this or that candidate, while at the international level the rational choice depends on what profits each state will gain as a result of this or that political decision. Having its roots in the economic sciences, rational choice theory is usually based on the cost-benefit calculations.
Politics as a whole appears to be the area of the irrational choices, which can hardly be explained by the rational choice theories; this is why to prove this assumption we have to look closer at the examples of such cases with their relation to the theory.
Ian Shapiro has called the rational choice theory 'a model that pretends to explain everything'. ...Show more

Summary

The present paper is devoted to the discussion of the rational choice theories as applied to the political science and international relations in particular. The aim of the work is to consider the assumption, that political science and international relations display a wide range of irrational decisions, which cannot be explained by the rational choice theory…
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