Two Concerns About Rational Choice: Indoctrination and Imperialism
Zurich IEER Working Paper No. 104
22 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2002
Rational Choice Theory is often criticized to indoctrinate students in a negative, which is supported by some laboratory experiments. But do students of Rational Choice Theory really behave more selfishly? This paper presents evidence from a natural decision on voluntary donation at the University of Zurich. The analysis of the very large panel data set reaches significant different results than previous studies: Rational Choice Theory does not indoctrinate students. However, there are good other reasons to criticize Rational Choice Theory. The paper argues that ideas from other social sciences should be imported to improve the theory. Three elements are presented which lead to new and different policy conclusions.
Keywords: Rational Choice, Public Goods, Giving Behavior, Education, Behavioral Economics
JEL Classification: A13, A20, H41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation