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Exploring Moving Mechanism between Forward-looking and Backward-looking Rational Actions: Toward a Meta Rational Choice Theory

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Abstract:

I propose a theory on the move between forward-looking and backward-looking rational actions, which I call the meta rational choice theory. People smoothly move between the two types of rational actions. When they cough and have a slight fever, they visit their family doctor as usual, which is an example of backward-looking rational action. In contrast, when a cancer is found in their lung, they try to collect as much medical information as possible to find doctors with excellent records of lung-cancer operations. This is an example of forward-looking rationality.
Rational choice theory, to my knowledge, has not developed a good theory to explain the move between the two types of rationality even though, as pointed out above, people smoothly move between them in their everyday life. I argue that the meta rational choice theory properly explains the move.
Cognitive burden and payoff are the major building blocks on which the theory is built. If the cognitive burden on a person is light and the payoff is low, he/she takes backward-looking rational action. In contrast, if the cognitive burden on the person is heavy and the payoff is high, he/she takes forward-looking rational action.
I examine three cases to check the empirical validity of the theory: Inequality of educational attainment, education and health, and cancer treatment. Studying these case with the help of the meta rational choice theory demonstrates that seemingly irrational actions can be explained as rational actions.
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Name: American Sociological Association Annual Meeting
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http://www.asanet.org


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MLA Citation:

Sato, Yoshimichi. "Exploring Moving Mechanism between Forward-looking and Backward-looking Rational Actions: Toward a Meta Rational Choice Theory" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, WA, Aug 17, 2016 <Not Available>. 2017-11-01 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1120525_index.html>

APA Citation:

Sato, Y. , 2016-08-17 "Exploring Moving Mechanism between Forward-looking and Backward-looking Rational Actions: Toward a Meta Rational Choice Theory" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, WA Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2017-11-01 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1120525_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: I propose a theory on the move between forward-looking and backward-looking rational actions, which I call the meta rational choice theory. People smoothly move between the two types of rational actions. When they cough and have a slight fever, they visit their family doctor as usual, which is an example of backward-looking rational action. In contrast, when a cancer is found in their lung, they try to collect as much medical information as possible to find doctors with excellent records of lung-cancer operations. This is an example of forward-looking rationality.
Rational choice theory, to my knowledge, has not developed a good theory to explain the move between the two types of rationality even though, as pointed out above, people smoothly move between them in their everyday life. I argue that the meta rational choice theory properly explains the move.
Cognitive burden and payoff are the major building blocks on which the theory is built. If the cognitive burden on a person is light and the payoff is low, he/she takes backward-looking rational action. In contrast, if the cognitive burden on the person is heavy and the payoff is high, he/she takes forward-looking rational action.
I examine three cases to check the empirical validity of the theory: Inequality of educational attainment, education and health, and cancer treatment. Studying these case with the help of the meta rational choice theory demonstrates that seemingly irrational actions can be explained as rational actions.


 
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