Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello


  • Anne-Marie MohammedEmail author
  • Sandra Sookram
  • George Saridakis
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_404



Rationality involves the evaluation of choices to achieve a goal or to find the optimal solution to a problem. Simon (1972, p. 161) defined rationality as “a style of behavior that is appropriate to the achievement of given goals, within the limits imposed by given conditions and constraints.”


The notion of rationality has become a central idea in the various disciplines within the social sciences. This entry discusses the concept of rationality, which has been a core concept in the explanation of human behavior in economics and the other social sciences. In the field of economics, it is expected that individuals behave rationally and that organizations should make rational decisions. A substantial number of economic theories are established under the assumption that when individuals act they do so in a rational manner. Simon (1957) revises this...

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne-Marie Mohammed
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sandra Sookram
    • 2
  • George Saridakis
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Economics, Faculty of Social SciencesThe University of the West IndiesSt. AugustineTrinidad and Tobago
  2. 2.Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic StudiesThe University of The West IndiesSt. AugustineTrinidad and Tobago
  3. 3.Small Business Research Centre, Business SchoolKingston UniversityLondonUK