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Rational Choice Hardcover – March 26, 2010


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Rational Choice + Theory of Decision under Uncertainty (Econometric Society Monographs) + Prospect Theory: For Risk and Ambiguity
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; 1 edition (March 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262014009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262014007
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,320,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Gilboa's Rational Choice is a clear, comprehensive, and clever introduction to economic theory. The focus is on the concepts, not the mathematics. It introduces the reader to the tenets of the field, while incorporating insights from philosophy, psychology, and sociology."--Amanda Friedenberg, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University

About the Author

Itzhak Gilboa is Professor of Economics and Decision Sciences at HEC (École des Hautes Études Commerciales), Paris, and Professor of Economics at Berglas School of Economics, Tel Aviv University. He is the coauthor (with David Schmeidler) of Theory of Case-Based Decisions and the author of Theory of Decision under Uncertainty.

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Customer Reviews

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I think the book corresponds to gourmet wine.
von Neumann
Furthermore, I found the inclusion of the section entitled, "Rationality and Emotions" very helpful.
Amazon Customer
This is an excellent introduction to the ideas of rational choice and their use in economics.
Ben

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Herbert Gintis on January 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Itzhak Gilboa is one of my favorite economists. His book with David Schmeidler, A Theory of Case-Based Decisions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001) is path breaking in amending the traditional Savage "small world" model of rational choice to be more realistic and useful. Rational Choice aims to present rational choice theory for newcomers without social scientific, philosophical, or mathematical expertise. Despite is diminutive size, the book ends up as a broadly accurate description of the current state of rational choice theory.

Gilboa is well aware of the limitations of standard the rational actor model, and makes no attempt in this book to go beyond this model (despite his own brilliant work on "case-based choice theory"). Rather, he considers the model as a "paradigm" rather than a "theory." The paradigm gives us a useful way of looking at the world, although by no means the only pertinent way. Gilboa urges the reader to add rational choice theory to his repertoire of tools used to assess social policy.

Rational Choice claims to be a "rigorous, concise, and nontechnical introduction to some of the fundamental insights of rational choice theory." (from the cover) Rational choice theory is well-suited for a concise nontechnical treatment, which this book is, but far from being rigorous, Gilboa is often simply incorrect, and rarely is convincing. The book appears to be directed to the layman with innate but inchoate prejudices against rational choice theory, but I doubt that such an individual will find this volume convincing.

Most opposition to rational choice theory that I have encountered, even when offered by professional behavioral scientists, is in fact couched in vague often even and ignorant terms. But there is a real critique of the theory.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Professor Gilboa says in the Introduction, "The purpose of this book is to introduce readers to some of the fundamental insights of rational choice theory, drawing upon the formal theories of microeconomics, decision, games, and social choice as well as upon ideas developed in philosophy, psychology, and sociology. I believe that economic theory and its fellow disciplines have provided a remarkable collection of powerful models and general insights, which change the way we think about everyday life. At the same time, economics has been justifiably criticized on several grounds. First economics is a mathematically oriented field that in many situations fails to provide accurate numerical predictions as do the exact sciences. Second, the basic assumptions of economics have come under attack and have been shown to falsifiable in experimental studies. Finally, economics is often criticized for failing to deal with important and deep issues such as happiness and well-being, justice and fairness. Moreover, the scientific or pseudo-scientific approach to economics has been argued to be serving the rhetoric of capitalism in a way that may be detrimental to well-being and to justice. The focus of this book is on some basic insights that survive these critiques." The books contents are as follows:
I. Optimization: 1. Feasibility and Desirability, 2. Utility Maximization, 3. Constrained Optimization
II. Risk and Uncertainty: 4. Expected Utility, 5. Probability and Statistics
III. Group Choices: 6. Aggregation of Preferences, 7. Games and Equilibria, 8. Free Markets
IV. Rationality and Emotions: 9. Evolutionary View of Emotions, 10.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By von Neumann on July 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
After such a long time, I would like to revise my review, seeing Prof. Gintis updating his.
I begin with some counter-arguments to Gintis, and leave my original review below for those interested in my review.
I think Prof. Gilboa has a lot to say about Gintis' harsh comments, and while I agree with about half of what Gintis says, the other half I think will be totally counter-argued. I hope I do the job instead of Gilboa at least partially, since the author is not in the position to argue on the review area probably.

The sole counter argument that I want to pose here is Gintis' naive criticism on Gilboa's interpretation of experimental economics.
Gintis says, unless economists can take "given payoffs" as the utility to be maximized, economics becomes irrefutable. Oh god, this is how naive a very top social scientist is as opposed to natural scientists when "experimental science" or "observation" in general are concerned. How could he possibly think that the only way to peak into people's utility is "by DEMANDING the participants of the experiments to take the specified payoffs as the utilities in their minds"? Physicists have always struggled to construct various models and experimental devices to correspond the observable phenomena with the atomic model. There is apparently no one-to-one correspondence between atom's properties and external physical phenomena. Experimental economists likewise should do their best to dig deep into the minds of people, rather than simply asking them to take the artificial not-so-rewarding specified payoffs as the mental utilities. I wonder whether Gintis knows the idea of "research program" by Lakatos.
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