Rational choice theory as social physics

Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 9 (1-2):155-174 (1995)
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Abstract

Donald Green and Ian Shapiro discover a curious gulf between the prestige of rational choice approaches and the dearth of solid empirical findings. But we can understand neither the prestige of rational choice theory nor its pathologies unless we see it as a variant of the equilibrium analysis found in physics, economics, and biology. Only such a global perspective on rational choice theory will reveal its core assumptions and the likely shape of its future in political science. In this light, the growing dominance of rational choice theory in political science is all but inevitable and its pathologies are all but inescapable.

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