Economic Decisions and Simon’s Notion of Bounded Rationality

  •  Daniele Schilirò    


Decision making in economics has been always intertwined with the concept of rationality. However, neoclassical economic literature has been dominated by a specific notion of rationality, namely, perfect rationality, characterized by the assumption of consistency and by the maximization hypothesis. Herbert Simon, in his long research activity, questioned this concept of perfect or global rationality, suggesting a different vision, based on empirical evidence and regarding an individual’s choices. He challenged the neoclassical theory of global rationality, suggesting his notion of bounded rationality, a satisficing (instead of optimizing) behavior, and the relevance of procedural rationality to understand the process of thought of decision makers.

Thus, this paper focuses on Simon’s notion of bounded rationality, since bounded rationality remains the hallmark of his theoretical contribution. First, the paper examines the economic decision process in the neoclassical theory and Simon’s notion of bounded rationality. Then, it analyzes in depth Simon’s behavioral model of rational choice, underlining the relevance of satisficing behavior and procedural rationality. Finally, it suggests an assessment of the concept of bounded rationality.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.