Beyond “bounded rationality”

Behaviours and learning in complex evolving worlds

Authored by: Giovanni Dosi , Marco Faillo , Luigi Marengo

Routledge Handbook of Bounded Rationality

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138999381
eBook ISBN: 9781315658353
Adobe ISBN:


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This work challenges the very notion of bounded rationality as dangerously too near to some “unbounded rationality” used as a benchmark. Should one assume that there is an “unbounded” rationality as a benchmark? Should one start, in order to describe and interpret human behaviour, from a model which assumes that we, human beings, have complete and well-defined knowledge of our preferences, all possible states of the world, all possible actions (our “technologies”), the mappings among them, and then look for possible “bounds” and “biases”? The chapter proposes an answer that is negative. Rather, the question should be: how do human agents and organizations thereof actually behave in complex and changing environments? Answering this question, the chapter suggests, also entails a significant departure from what is now accepted as behavioural economics, often meant as the analysis of more or less significant deviations from the “Olympic rationality”. On the contrary, human beings and human organizations behave quite distinctively from the prescriptive model derived from the axioms of rationality.

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