Can norms rescue self‐interest or macro explanation be joined to micro explanation?

Critical Review 5 (3):301-323 (1991)
Abstract
In three recent books, Jon Elster continues the project that began when he showed that Marxism lacked micro foundations. This project is the use of methodologically individualistic assumptions to understand social behavior. In his latest work, however, he supplements rational choice theory by means of non?rational ?norms,? begging the question of the sources and possible variations among these ?given? individual value?preferences. This move invites a comparison of Elster's results with those offered by cultural theory. While not a review of Elster's recent books, these reflections on them suggest that it is better to allow for a pluralism of cultural biases than to insert ?norms? into the rational?choice model on an ad hoc basis
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