Rational Choice Theory Essay

1292 words - 5 pages

There are three main points that are reinforced in rational choice theory (Cornish and Clarke, 1986). First, it may work better or worse for different types of crime, yet it is thought that there are rational choices in every type of crime even impulsive and pathologic crimes. Second, the theory should be applied on a crime-specific basis. Hence, burglaries can’t be grouped together in among residential and commercial categories. Rather, they must be broken into smaller facets such as public housing burglaries or wealthy residential neighborhoods. Finally, a distinction is made between criminal involvement and criminal events. Criminal involvement describes how individuals get involved in crime and further continue or abstain from this lifestyle. Criminal events have unique underpinnings, which are often shorter processes than criminal involvement structures.
Among the goals of rational choice theory is to explain all types of crime (Cornish and Clarke, 1986). However, it does not propose that there is an underlying unity between different types of crime like other theories. Instead, these diverse elements are important in explaining why such events occur. Also, it incorporates factors that lead to crime, emphasizes the pattern of decisions throughout a criminal career, and accounts for situational variables of crime.
In comparison, the deterrence theory proposes that the fear of legal punishment diverts people away from crime, while rational choice theory advances that in the act of choosing whether or not to commit a crime the benefits are weighed (Stafford and Warr, 1993; Cornish and Clarke, 1986). Hence, in both theories pain is a cause for not committing crimes. Furthermore, the deterrence theory has two children: general deterrence and specific deterrence (Stafford and Warr, 1993). The former looks at the general population and how it is dissuaded from crime. The later occurs when a specific offender is deterred from crime through sanctions. Thus, the benefits and drawbacks of crime have sway with both deterrence and rational choice theories, but rational choice doesn’t make headway for a population as a whole or limit the individual to those previously punished.
The strengths of the rational choice theory are also seen when comparing it to the routine activity theory, which proposes that three elements are needed for crime: motivated offenders, suitable targets, and the absence of capable guardians (Cohen and Felson, 1979). Hence, environmental conditions must be right for crime to occur. This relates to one similarity of the rational choice theory, which is the account for situational variables such as the likelihood of punishment (Cornish and Clarke, 1986). In contrast, routine activity theory doesn’t look at why the individual commits crime (Cohen and Felson, 1979). Instead, this propensity is assumed, while the rational choice theory looks specifically at the reasons individuals commit offenses.
The broken...

Find Another Essay On Rational Choice Theory

The Rational Choice Theory versus The Trait Theory on the Issue of the Reduction or Control of Crime.

819 words - 3 pages Theoretical schools have long been used in the study of criminal behavior and as guidelines for determining ways to effectively reduce crimes. Two popular theories used in today's society are the Rational Choice Theory and the Trait Theory. Some argue that the Choice Theory is a more effective way of reducing and controlling crime while others argue in favor of the Trait Theory. After researching both theories, I have come to the conclusion that

Anas Harthieh Essay

2051 words - 9 pages Rational choice theory is an economic theory explaining human decision-making. To simplify, it is a basic attempt to understand social, political and economic relations and institutions, built upon rationally self-interested agents who want to maximise their utility. Utility in this context is describing a degree to which the individual wants to peruse an end to satisfy his preferences. The theory has become the core of neoclassical economic

Synopsis on Rational Choice

1387 words - 6 pages In this synopsis I intend to analyse the rational choice model and its relevance in economic theory, using the utility theory as an example. Firstly I will define and explain rational choice and then introduce utility theory. From there I will move on to outlining some of the major criticisms of the rational choice model.Rational choice is a psychological model directed at testing and analysing the rationality of individuals decisions. It was

The Rational Choice and Biological Trait Theories

2003 words - 8 pages , they should use a couple of criminology theories to help them with certain cases that are more difficult than the rest. The theories that the justice departments should use in their systems are the rational choice and biological theories of criminology. The rational choice theory comes from the classical theory which is based off of personal choice towards criminal behavior. Criminal behavior under the rational choice theory has been due to the

What are the key assumptions of rational choice individualism. Are they valid assumptions? Cite examples to support your examples.

2000 words - 8 pages action has only been traditionally seen as present alongside tradition, emotion and other value oriented action. Traditionally the great sociologists such as Durkheim, Weber and Marx have all found economic rationalism insufficient. Rational choice theory completely denies the existence of theses kinds of action. The central argument is that all social action can be approached from the prior assumption of rational motivation.George Homans (1961) set

Comparison of the Social Exchange Theory and the Symbolic Interaction Theory

2133 words - 9 pages The theory I originally chose to critique was the Social Exchange and Rational Choice framework from our class book. I chose this theory because when we talked about it in class it made a lot of sense to me. Its propositions and foundations are very applicable to many situations, and I felt like I had a good grasp of its concepts and structure. However, in doing research for this paper, I discovered that contrary to what our book led me to

Theory Paper

753 words - 4 pages criminal. Jeremy Bentham expressed that people are hedonist, or in other words driven by the quest of pleasure. Criminals often believe that the reward of the act will be greater than the possible repercussions. A present-day model of the Classical Theory would is the Rational Choice Theory. Ration choice uses free will as the main idea of the theory. More over, with a much deeper definition being that wrongdoers exploit tactical reasoning to

Reversing the Culture of Greed

1158 words - 5 pages In the article entitled “Reversing the Culture of Greed,” Jung-kyu Kim gives us the opportunity to explore current America’s societal breakdown, which we attempt to view through the eyes of George Herbert Mead and James S. Coleman. We will focus on James S. Coleman’s Rational Choice Theory and its ramifications on present-day society and explore George Herbert Mead’s theory of Symbolic Interactionism as a solution to these ramifications

History of Games

908 words - 4 pages Diana Petrenko10/16/12Professor CunninghamGAM 206- Section. 101Critical ReviewThe theory of games was initially created to find a rational technique of how to solve and answer questions that were once considered unattainable. The purpose of this theory was to find a method that allows one to make an educated prediction of all possible outcomes. In John McDonald's Strategy in Poker, Business and War he thoroughly explains this concept in the "A

Modeling Political Participation

1244 words - 5 pages Three different models offer an explanation as to why people vote. The rational choice model of participation looks at voter psychology and self interest to predict political participation. The resource model expands upon the common socioeconomic status (SES) model to explain why people participate in politics. Resources serve as a mechanism that links SES to participation. Finally, mobilization hinges off of campaign efforts and peer pressures

The Rise of White Collar Crime: A Theoretical Perspective

994 words - 4 pages behavior from upstanding businessman to career criminal might be further explained by looking at some of theories associated with deviant behavior.Although, white collar crime is hard to theorize due to the nature of the criminal act some theories that can be used to help understand it better are the Rational Choice Theory, the Anomie-Strain Theory, and possibly the Differential Association Theory. However, so far efforts to place one particular

Similar Essays

Rational Choice Theory In Political Science

4419 words - 18 pages Rational Choice Theory in Political Science According to one of rational choice theory’s prominent and more thoughtful contemporary exponents, Peter C. Ordeshook, “four books mark the beginning of modern political theory: Anthony Downs’s An Economic Theory of Democracy (1957), Duncan Black’s Theory of Committees and Elections (1958), William H. Riker’s A Theory of Political Coalitions (1962), and James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock’s The

Rational Choice Theory, Rational Choice Approach To Crime Causation,Rational Choice Theory And Deterrence Theory's Impact On Crime Prevention Strategies

529 words - 2 pages The rational choice approach to crime causation is composed of several different concepts. According to this theory, criminal behavior is the product of careful thought and planning. Offenders choose crime after considering both personal factors-money, revenge, thrills, entertainment- and situational factors, such as target availability, security measures, and police presence (Siegel, 2008). Once the decision has been made to commit a specific

Theories Of Symbolic Interactionism Exchange Theory And Rational Choice Theory

1073 words - 4 pages Theories of Symbolic Interactionism Exchange Theory and Rational Choice Theory This essay will address actions of individuals and the contribution individual actions make to the social structure, how society flows to the actor via the “Me” and is constructed or reconstructed by the “I,” giving the “I” a place in creating society. I will further analyze the theories and explore the impact of norms and values on the decisions by the actors

Rational Choice Theory And Swordfish A Development Of Theory And Character

1785 words - 7 pages Swordfish is a dark counter-espionage action thriller about power, money, sacrifice and 21st-century breaking and entering. Over the course of this paper characters will be introduced and then systematically compared to the rational choice theory and categorized by their actions. First, a review of the movie must be completed. Second, a thorough examination of the rational choice theory will be conducted. Lastly, the selected characters will