Rationality and economic behavior

Journal of Economic Methodology 3 (2):307-315 (1996)
Abstract
This paper rejects the idea that rationality can be defined as optimization, on theoretic, empirical and methodological grounds. It proposes instead a more general theory of rational action in the context of individual growth, change and development over time, in an uncertain world of social interaction, in which choices are part of a learning process. Such a theory of economic behavior is empirically testable, which is not true of either optimization or satisficing, involves conflict and tension rather than harmony, and leads to possible government action rather than laissez-faire. It also broadens economic theory to include relationships among individual behavior, institutions and values.
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