Homo Economicus

(redirected from Rational Actors)
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Homo Economicus

A person that desires to maximize his/her needs or desires. Homo economicus is used most of the time to refer to the rational economic actor, who desires wealth, does not desire to work if it can be avoided, and is able to find ways achieve those ends. This assumption is accepted by many economists, especially those who follow rational choice theory, but it remains controversial. The concept of homo economicus was developed by utilitarian thinkers, and contrasts with the constructs of behavioral economics.
References in periodicals archive ?
self-interested rational actors, and support distributive justice over
largely focused on rational actors and typically are thought to consider
Since rational actors behave according to their interests, the activities they employ are indicative of the condition at hand.
Thus, most nudges, whether choice-independent or choice-dependent, should be of no concern with respect to rational actors, at least not if they do provide an easy opt-out.
It challenges ideas that dictators are crazy and power hungry and assumptions that their primary motivation is retaining power or that they are not rational actors, and considers the role of rationality in their decision-making process, applying the work of Max Weber on rationality and focusing on Pol Pot and Slobodan Milosevic and the specific type of rationality involved in their decision-making processes, choices they made when in power, and their decisions whether or not to give in to pressure from Vietnam and NATO to stop perpetrating mass atrocities.
Similar to his point on China, and with an air of sociological theorization, Etzioni reminds readers that while individuals are usually divided into rational and irrational actors--with rational actors behaving in ways that are well adapted to meeting their goals and irrational actors behaving in ways that are poorly adapted to do so--there also exists a group of non-rational actors, those who behave in ways that are not in accordance with logic or reason; such actors, says Etzioni, act in response not to logic or reason but to "deeply held beliefs that cannot be proven or disproven." As such, he asserts, Iran's leaders, being religious fanatics, act not rationally but non-rationally.
What is therefore needed is a framework of sensorimotor processing that takes the limited information-processing capacity of bounded rational actors into account and that explains their robust real-world performance.
It is not always a war between rational actors, or even between states.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this; in IR, many explanations "are no longer parsimonious." (33) Nevertheless, some rational choice analyses of international law might also generally concede the possibility of miscalculation by rational actors, though this is also not inconsistent with traditional expected utility theory, as only decisions that are haphazard, arbitrary, random, or otherwise a priori inutile are removed from the model.
The theories of motivation based on areas of organizational behavior, classic economics and political psychology were based on the assumption that people are rational actors, i.e.
Whereas classical economics presupposes that consumers are rational actors who are perfectly informed about their options and choose the best one for them, in real life, people are "boundedly" rational, meaning there are limitations to how much information they can collect and process in making a decision, and people often limit their search to a couple alternatives.
(12) The early European notion of nations as inherently competitive stands in contrast to the United States' view of people as rational actors who can build peaceful and cooperative societies through participatory government and free markets.