Voting choice and rational choice

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Abstract

Rational choice theory may seem like a separate theoretical approach with its own forbidding mathematics. However, the central assumptions of rational choice theory are very similar to those in mainstream political behavior and even interpretive sociology. Indeed, many of the statistical methods used in empirical political behavior assume axiomatic models of voter choice. When we consider individual voting behavior, the contribution of rational choice has been to formalize what empirical political scientists do anyway, and provide some new tools. However, it is when we consider collective voting choice—what elections mean and what kind of policy outcomes result—that rational choice leads to new, counterintuitive insights. Rational choice also has a normative dimension. Without voter rationality the traditional understanding of democracy as popular choice makes little sense.
LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Research Encyclopaedia of Politics
EditorsWilliam Thompson
Place of Publication[New York]
PublisherOxford University Press
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016

Publication series

NameOxford Research Encyclopaedias
PublisherOxford University Press

Fingerprint

rational choice theory
political behavior
voting
voter
voting behavior
political scientist
statistical method
rationality
sociology
election
mathematics
democracy

Keywords

  • rational choice
  • voting
  • social choice
  • elections
  • rationality

Cite this

McGann, A. (2016). Voting choice and rational choice. In W. Thompson (Ed.), Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Politics (Oxford Research Encyclopaedias). [New York]: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.79
McGann, Anthony. / Voting choice and rational choice. Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Politics. editor / William Thompson. [New York] : Oxford University Press, 2016. (Oxford Research Encyclopaedias).
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McGann, A 2016, Voting choice and rational choice. in W Thompson (ed.), Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Politics. Oxford Research Encyclopaedias, Oxford University Press, [New York]. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.79

Voting choice and rational choice. / McGann, Anthony.

Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Politics. ed. / William Thompson. [New York] : Oxford University Press, 2016. (Oxford Research Encyclopaedias).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

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McGann A. Voting choice and rational choice. In Thompson W, editor, Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Politics. [New York]: Oxford University Press. 2016. (Oxford Research Encyclopaedias). https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.79