Are free people more rational

Homo oeconomicus

Philosophy of science

1. Characterization: Model of an exclusively “economically” thinking person on which the analyzes of classical and neoclassical economic theory are based.

Main feature of Homo oeconomicus is its capacity for unrestricted rational behavior.

Determining the action is the pursuit of utility maximization, which is assumed for consumers, or profit maximization, which is assumed for producers.

Additional characteristic Assumptions: Complete information about all decision alternatives and their consequences; complete market transparency.

2. Evaluation: Because of their largely lacking information content, the assumptions of the Homo oeconomicus model have recently been increasingly criticized and attempts have been made to replace them with a more realistic picture of the people who work.

See also decision-oriented business administration, behavioral business administration, economic sociology.

Decision theory

Ideal type of decision maker who is capable of unrestrictedly rational behavior (rational principle). This includes, on the one hand, the consistent pursuit of one's own goals (which are exclusively financial in nature) and, on the other hand, the immediate and error-free processing of information.

See also images of people.

Business ethics

Homo oeconomicus is playing an increasingly important role as a schema for analyzing problems of business ethics. It is to be interpreted neither as an image of man nor as an ideal, but as an analytical construct that enables adequate analyzes for specific problems, especially for social dilemma structures (self-interest). Misunderstandings result mainly from the fact that the model characteristics of Homo oeconomicus, rationality and self-interest, are understood as descriptions of human characteristics regardless of the problem or theory context.