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date: 13 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores both the economic and psychological rationality of political choice. It begins by outlining the assumptions of rational choice theory and discussing variations on those assumptions to accommodate a more realistic individual psychology. It then evaluates the political attitudes and behavior of citizens in different contexts of decisionmaking. The chapter focuses specifically on the degree to which people make optimal (i.e., self-interested) policy choices; whether low or limited information rationality is substantively rational; whether beliefs are updated and information is processed rationally; and whether preferences are consistent across alternative framings of issues.

Keywords: rationality, self-interest, political preferences, decision making, information processing, framing

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