Abstract Even if formally precise, the economic concept of rationality has different empirical implications depending on how it is used in theory building. If it is used as a tool of microfoundation in multi-level analysis it can be applied universally, but does not imply a specific model of human behavior. As a means of constructing microtheories proper it is, on the other hand, translated into a definite model of man but can be applied only to specific situations. This model, known as homo oeconomicus or economic man, should not be taken as an assertion about human nature but rather as a shorthand description of the behavior enforced and stabilized by social situations of a certain type.
Analyse & Kritik – de Gruyter
Published: May 1, 1989