A rational-choice approach to violence

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There are arguably two basic theoretical approaches to violence and crime: rational choice perspectives and frustration-aggression approaches. The first assumes that behavior has a purpose or goal. Offenders harm others and break laws because they can achieve outcomes they value (the rewards) at not too high a cost. Costs include external consequences (e.g., punishment) as well as internal, psychological consequences (e.g., guilt) resulting from the violation of moral beliefs. Rational choice theorists use the name reluctantly because they know that rationality is “bounded,” that is, that behavior reflects subjective judgments about payoffs, and that individuals often make careless decisions that can have disastrous outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationViolence
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Theory to Research
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781317521389
ISBN (Print)9781583605615
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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