Green & Shapiro - Rational Choice Theory (Main assumptions that…
Green & Shapiro - Rational Choice Theory
People maximise their individual interests
Weaknesses of the RC Theory?
The desire of RC theorists to come up with universal theories of politics
Evidence is tested & selected in a biased fashion, conclusions are drawn without attention to competing explanations, anomalies are ignored
Theory driven rather than problem driven - they are modified in order to save their universal character
Rational choice hypotheses are resistant to genuine empirical testing
Claims of Arrow, Downs and Olson
Arrow - so long as minimal assumptions of rational & complexity of choice is valid, no social welfare function exists that it is not dicatorial
Downs - When 2 political parties fight for position along ideologies to get voter support, their ideological platforms converge to the "median" voter between 2.
Downs reshaped the way political scientists view nature of mass opinion & political participation
the collective nature of electoral choice made it irrational for voters to expend resources to gather information
Olson - Only a separate & selective incentive that alludes to the individual interest would stimulate a rational individual to act in a group-oriented way
Main assumptions that underline RC theory
Structure of preferences
Decision making under risk and uncertainty (maximise expected value)
Centrality of individuals in the explanation of collective outcomes
Models apply equally to all
What do RC theorists disagree on?
Robustness of assumptions of human goals - thin & thick rationale
Amount of relevant information people have and use
Occurs if there is a potential self-enforcing agreement where each actor does what is best for her given what others would do & there is no incentive to defeat.
Everyone's strategy is based on the other's strategy