Bounded rationality in political science

Authored by: Zachary A. McGee , Brooke N. Shannon , Bryan D. Jones

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 chapter explores the influence of bounded rationality and Herbert Simon on the political science, public policy process, and agenda-setting literatures. It begins with Simon’s foundational contribution, Administrative Behavior, and explores the nuances of bounded rationality and how it compares to the standard model of choice applied to contemporary models of politics. The chapter also highlights the role that institutions play in connecting individual and organizational choice models and argues for a refocus on the role of institutions in political decision making. It concludes with a discussion of recent scholarly contributions utilizing bounded rationality and details outstanding problems in the fields of political and policy sciences.

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