The poverty of green and Shapiro

Critical Review 9 (1-2):127-154 (1995)
Donald Green and Ian Shapiro argue that rational choice scholarship in political science is excessively theory?driven: too few of its theoretical insights have been subjected to serious empirical scrutiny and survived. But rational choice theorizing has the potential to identify and correct logical inconsistencies and slippages. It is thus valuable even if the resulting theories are not tested empirically. When Green and Shapiro's argument concerning collective dilemmas and free riding is formalized, it turns out to be deeply flawed and in many respects outright false. Their mistake is common enough: they misclassify a variety of collective dilemmas as prisoner's dilemmas. Because they misunderstand the theory of rational choice, Green and Shapiro allege that it is refuted by empirical findings that, in fact, support it.
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DOI 10.1080/08913819508443376
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