The Handbook of Rational Choice Social Research

The Handbook of Rational Choice Social Research

Wittek, R., T.A.B. Snijders, V. Nee (2013). The Handbook of Rational Choice Social Research. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.


The Handbook of Rational Choice Social Research offers the first comprehensive overview of how the rational choice paradigm can inform empirical research within the social sciences. This landmark collection highlights successful empirical applications across a broad array of disciplines, including sociology, political science, economics, history, and psychology. Taking on issues ranging from financial markets and terrorism to immigration, race relations, and emotions, and a huge variety of other phenomena, rational choice proves a useful tool for theory- driven social research. Each chapter uses a rational choice framework to elaborate on testable hypotheses and then apply this to empirical research, including experimental research, survey studies, ethnographies, and historical investigations. Useful to students and scholars across the social sciences, this handbook will reinvigorate discussions about the utility and versatility of the rational choice approach, its key assumptions, and tools.

ISBN: 9780804784184


Best Book Award 2014, American Sociological Association (Rationality and Society Section)

Winner of the Outstanding Academic Title Award, sponsored by Choice



Table of Contents

Part I: Rationality and Decision-making

Chapter 1: Rationality, Social Preferences, and Strategic Decision-making from a Behavioral Economics Perspective

Simon Gächter

Chapter 2: Social Rationality, Self-Regulation, and Well-Being: The Regulatory Significance of Needs, Goals, and the Self

Siegwart Lindenberg

Chapter 3: Rational Choice Research on Social Dilemmas: Embeddedness Effects onTrust

Vincent Buskens and Werner Raub

Chapter 4: Modeling Collective Decision-making

Frans N. Stokman, Jelle Van der Knoop, and Reinier C. H. Van Oosten

Part II: Networks and Inequality

Chapter 5: Social Exchange, Power, and Inequality in Networks

Karen S. Cook and Coye Cheshire

Chapter 6: Social Capital

Henk Flap and Beate Völker

Chapter 7: Network Dynamics

Tom A. B. Snijders

Part III: Communities and Cohesion

Chapter 8: Rational Choice Research in Criminology: A Multi-Level Framework

Ross L. Matsueda

Chapter 9: Secularization:Theoretical Controversies Generating Empirical Research

Nan Dirk De Graaf

Chapter 10: Assimilation as Rational Action in Contexts Defined by Institutions and Boundaries

Victor Nee and Richard Alba

Part IV: States and Conflicts

Chapter 11: Terrorism and the State 

Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca

Chapter 12: Choosing War: State Decisions to Initiate and End Wars and Observe the Peace Afterward

James D. Morrow

Chapter 13: Rational Choice Approaches to State-Making

Edgar Kiser and Erin Powers

Part V: Markets and Organizations

Chapter 14: Market Design and Market Failure

Carlos Cañón, Guido Friebel, and Paul Seabright

Chapter 15: Organizational Governance

Nicolai J. Foss and Peter G. Klein

Chapter 16: Rational Choice and Organizational Change

Rafael Wittek and Arjen Van Witteloostuijn



Department of Sociology
Faculty of Behavioral and Social SciencesUniversity of Groningen
Grote Rozenstraat 31, 9712 TG Groningen, The Netherlands
Phone: +31 50 36 36282

Secretary: Ms. Lije Gong (+31 50 36 36469,