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Hardcover | $32.00 Short | £22.95 | ISBN: 9780262014007 | 176 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 7 figures| March 2010
Paperback | $20.00 Short | £13.95 | ISBN: 9780262518055 | 176 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 7 figures| August 2012

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Essential Info

  • Index
  • Preface
  • Online Appendixes

Instructor Resources

Rational Choice


This book offers a rigorous, concise, and nontechnical introduction to some of the fundamental insights of rational choice theory. It draws on formal theories of microeconomics, decision making, games, and social choice, and on ideas developed in philosophy, psychology, and sociology. Itzhak Gilboa argues that economic theory has provided a set of powerful models and broad insights that have changed the way we think about everyday life. He focuses on basic insights of the rational choice paradigm—the general conceptualization rather than a particular theory—that survive recent (and well-justified) critiques of economic theory's various failures. Gilboa explains the main concepts in language accessible to the nonspecialist, offering a nonmathematical guide to some of the main ideas developed in economic theory in the second half of the twentieth century.

Chapters cover feasibility and desirability, utility maximization, constrained optimization, expected utility, probability and statistics, aggregation of preferences, games and equilibria, free markets, and rationality and emotions. Online appendixes offer a survey of relevant mathematical concepts, a rigorous exposition of the formal models described in the book, exercises and problems, and solutions. These materials are useful supplements to the book for classroom use.

About the Author

Itzhak Gilboa is Professor of Economics and Decision Sciences at HEC (École des Hautes Études Commerciales), Paris, and Professor of Economics at Berglas School of Economics, Tel Aviv University. He is the coauthor (with David Schmeidler) of Theory of Case-Based Decisions and the author of Theory of Decision under Uncertainty.


"Rational Choice provides a clear and non-technical introduction to the theory of rational individual decision making, as well as brief looks at game theory, social choice, and market equilibrium. The book is particularly strong in its treatment of risk and uncertainty, where it combines lucid descriptions of the standard theory with some discussion of its limitations. Highly recommended!"
Drew Fudenberg, Department of Economics, Harvard University

"Gilboa's Rational Choice is a clear, comprehensive, and clever introduction to economic theory. The focus is on the concepts, not the mathematics. It introduces the reader to the tenets of the field, while incorporating insights from philosophy, psychology, and sociology."
Amanda Friedenberg, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University