Key Concepts in Governance provides a clear introduction to the technical concepts and policies of contemporary governance through short definitional essays. Each entry features a snapshot definition of the concept, a contextualization of the concept, an overview of relevant debates, and a guide to further reading. The book also includes a substantial introductory chapter which gives an overview of governance studies as a whole, orientating and guiding the reader around the issues that the concepts address.
Rational Choice Theory
Rational choice theory deduces models of social life from the assumption that individuals act to maximize the satisfaction of their personal preferences. Although it is sometimes called the economic approach to politics, [Page 164]and also draws heavily on the neoclassical approach to micro-economics, it also makes extensive use of decision theory and game theory.
The exact nature of the assumptions made by rational choice theory remains a matter of discussion. The most important discussion is perhaps over whether or not rational choice theory assumes that people are selfish. Critics sometimes suggest it does. Technically however, rational choice theory is agnostic over the content of people's preferences: it assumes that people act rationally in accordance with whatever preferences they have, and it deduces ...