Preferences and Situations: Points of Intersection between Historical and Rational Choice Institutionalism
PREFERENCES AND SITUATIONS: POINTS OF INTERSECTION BETWEEN HISTORICAL AND RATIONAL CHOICE INSTITUTIONALISM, Ira Katznelson, Barry R. Weingast, eds., Russel Sage Foundation, August 2005
Posted: 30 Jun 2008
Date Written: August 2005
A scholarly gulf has tended to divide historians, political scientists, and social movement theorists on how people develop and act on their preferences. Rational choice scholars assumed that people - regardless of the time and place in which they live - try to achieve certain goals, like maximizing their personal wealth or power. In contrast, comparative historical scholars have emphasized historical context in explaining people's behavior. Recently, a common emphasis on how institutions - such as unions or governments - influence people's preferences in particular situations has emerged, promising to narrow the divide between the two intellectual camps. In Preferences and Situations, editors Ira Katnelson and Barry Weingast seek to expand that common ground by bringing together an esteemed group of contributors to address the ways in which institutions, in their wider historical setting, induce people to behave in certain ways and steer the course of history.
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