Rational Choice Sociology
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Rational Choice Sociology

Essays on Theory, Collective Action and Social Order

Michael Hechter

Rational Choice Sociology shows that despite the scepticism of many sociologist, rational choice theory indeed can account for a variety of non-market outcomes, including those concerning social norms, family dynamics, crime, rebellion, state formation and social order.
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Chapter 2: A Theory of the Value of Children

Debra Friedman, Michael Hechter and Satoshi Kanazawa

Abstract

This paper uses a non-standard value assumption – uncertainty reduction – to explain parenthood. We begin by reviewing the inadequacies of normative and standard rational choice explanations of shifts in fertility behavior. Then we propose a theory of the value of children based on the uncertainty-reduction assumption. Next we generate a range of hypotheses that follow both from this assumption and from a subsidiary assumption of marital solidarity enhancement. Finally, we explore the extent to which implications based on these new ideas are supported by the relevant empirical literature.

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