What Are the Main Strengths and Weaknesses of the Rational Choice Appr

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What Are The Main Strengths and Weaknesses of The Rational Choice Approach To
Religions Behavior?

One of the pioneers of the rational choice theory has been Gary Becker.
He states that this approach can be applied to all human behaviour, including religion. This approach has three assumptions. It assumes that people engage in maximising behaviour. When applying this approach to religion we are not concerned with money. We are concerned with the maximisation of personal benefits. When we make a decision we weigh up the costs and benefits and choose the option which offers the most benefit. Secondly, there are ‘markets that with varying degrees of efficiency allow the actions of different participants to function together …show more content…

Iannaccone explains these facts with reference to investment ie people have already spent a great deal of time and effort in their religion and to move to a new religion requires new investment and initial investment is wasted. Bruce suggests an alternative explanation would be that beliefs ‘ sediment', effecting our response to alternatives. He explains that beliefs which seem more plausible to us are beliefs which accord with residues of earlier stages of belief. The human capital model predicts religious switching will occur early in the life cycle as people search for the best match between their skills and the context in which they produce religious commodities. Over time diminishing marginal utility will occur ie gains from further switching will dimiinish as the potential for improvement decreases and the years left during which they can capitalise on that improvement decrease. Bruce suggests that socialisation with like-minded believers and how much of a satisfactory explanation of the world and our place in it is given is likey to increase plausibility over time and that there is no need for reference to economics. Iannaccone states that households peactice their beliefs more efficiently when husband and wife belong to the same religion. He believes they benefit from economies of scale as they can take the same car to church and avoid disputes over which religion the children are to practice etc. He states this is why tend to marry

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