What motivates human behavior? Fundamentals of Political Science



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What motivates human behavior? Fundamentals of Political Science

Doane College, US has reference to this Academic Journal, Fundamentals of Political Science Dr. Sujian Guo Professor of Political Science San Francisco State Unversity Email: sguo@sfsu bss.sfsu /sguo ?Only the rational choice model is capable of satisfying the requirements in consideration of a scientific political science? ? W. Riker What motivates human behavior? Rational choice theory is based on the choice of motivational variables as explanatory (independent) variables in consideration of the explanation of human behavior, social conflict or cooperation in a given society. Those motivations include self-interest public interest economic, political, in addition to moral motivations

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What is the hardcore of rational choice? ? The hardcore of rational choice would be based on the conception of human beings as homo economicus ? economic man pursues self-interest (sole motive) so that obtain the highest possible well-being in consideration of himself at the least possible costs given available information about opportunities in addition to constraints on his ability so that achieve his goals. This is referred so that as ?rationality.? What is the hardcore of rational choice? Rational behavior is so that ?choose the best among all possible? of different means in addition to alternative ends by weighing the relative importance or utility assigned so that each particular mean or end. ?Irrational behavior? is just the opposite ? ?choose the worst among all possible? ? inefficient, counterproductive, self-defeating, symbolic, etc. ? Individual choice example ? Policy choice example Background This approach emerged in the study of politics in the 1950s in addition to 1960s.ÿIt was first contributed by economists.ÿ Some key works by prize winners: Kenneth Arrow, Social Choice in addition to Individual Values. Anthony Downs, An Economic Theory of Democracy. Mancur Olson, The Logic of Collective Action. Thomas Schelling, The Strategy of Conflict William H. Riker, The Theory of Political Coalitions.

Main Characteristics of Rational Choice Theory The approach is ?methodologically individualist?:ÿ takes actors as units (usually individuals, but can also be groups, parties or states).ÿ Most important elements or characteristics of rational choice theories: Preferences:ÿ Assumed desires in addition to wants of individuals.ÿ Actors will prefer some outcomes over others (e.g., maximize power, votes, etc.) Main Characteristics of Rational Choice Theory Strategies:ÿ Actions or means available so that actors. Rationality:ÿ Refers so that consistency of preferences in consideration of ranking alternatives, in addition to choice of best possible strategy. Constraints:ÿ Constitute the ?rules of the game?, in addition to will influence actions in addition to outcomes.ÿ Main Characteristics of Rational Choice Theory Uncertainty in addition to strategic interaction:ÿ Outcomes may not be known in consideration of sure.ÿ Individuals can only choose actions, not directly outcomes.ÿStrategic interaction is an important kind of uncertainty, in addition to is at the core of most interesting rational choice applications in the study of politics.ÿ Equilibrium:ÿ exists when there are no individual incentives so that change one?s behavior (i.e., nuclear mutual destruction ? no possibility so that achieve a more preferred outcome, given the actions of the other actors involved).ÿ It is used so that predict in addition to explain outcomes of strategic interaction.

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Prisoners? Dilemma in addition to collective action ?If you stay silent you will each be sentenced so that 1 year in prison; however, if you confess in addition to testify against your partner, you will be free, while your partner will get a 10-year sentence; on the other hand, if both of you confess, you will both be sentenced so that 5 years.?ÿ This situation can be represented in a table: PRISONER 2 Not confess Confess (cooperate) (defect) Not confess PRISONER 1 (cooperate) 1,ÿ 1 10,ÿ 0 Confess (defect) 0,ÿ 10 5,ÿ 5 **Pay-offs: first number indicates years in prison in consideration of Prisoner1; second number years in prison in consideration of Prisoner 2. Strengths Rational choice approaches combine a ?scientific? emphasis on rigorous analytical models alongside a strong theoretical focus on human values. On one hand, human preferences, interests, in addition to objectives are used as the basic explanatory in addition to predictive variables of human behavior while on the other hand more rigorous ?scientific? techniques borrowed from the natural sciences, ranging from statistical techniques so that mathematical modeling, are employed in consideration of scientific explanation.

Weaknesses However, the problem is what is taken as “rational” – preferences are defined so that be rational if they are complete in addition to transitive. That is, that the decision maker is able so that compare all of the alternatives, in addition to that these comparisons are consistent. This is often not true in real world. If uncertainty is involved, then more assumptions have so that be made in addition so that rational preferences. Weaknesses Rationality can also mean that the decision maker always chooses the most preferred option, which is often not true in the real world. To simplify calculation in addition to make prediction, some rather unrealistic assumptions are made about the world. These can include: An individual has precise information about exactly what will occur under any choice made. An individual has time in addition to ability so that weigh every choice against every other choice. An individual is fully aware of all possible choices.

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