The source of optimality in action

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3 Scopus citations


It is well known that the nature of the information set and the axioms of rational choice are critical in determining the type of ranking on which agents are held to act in economic theory. This paper argues that the concept of the optimising agent is also sensitive to the conception of the relation between a ranking of options facing an agent, and concrete action: what is termed the realisation process. Three conceptions of the realisation process are examined, which are seen to lead to three quite distinct views on the role of agency, the enabling conditions under which the concept of the optimising agent may be legitimately applied, and the resulting domain of application of optimisation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-363
Number of pages25
JournalCambridge Journal of Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


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