A Preference for Selfish Preferences:The Problem of Motivations in Rational Choice Political Science
AbstractThis article analyzes the problem of preference imputation in rational choice political science. I argue against the well-established practice in political science of assuming selfish preferences for purely methodological reasons, regardless of its empirical plausibility (this I call a preference for selfish preferences). Real motivations are overlooked due to difficulties of imputing preferences to agents in a non-arbitrary way in the political realm. I compare the problem of preference imputation in economic and political markets, and I show the harmful consequences of the preference for selfish preferences in the field of collective action.