Review of Behavioral Economics > Vol 8 > Issue 3-4

Inclusive Rationality: Struggle and Aspiration

Shruti Rajagopalan, Mercatus Center, George Mason University, USA,
Suggested Citation
Shruti Rajagopalan (2021), "Inclusive Rationality: Struggle and Aspiration", Review of Behavioral Economics: Vol. 8: No. 3-4, pp 259-283.

Publication Date: 09 Dec 2021
© 2021 S. Rajagopalan
JEL Codes: B29, B49, B53, D91
Aspirationinclusive rationalitystrugglebehavioral economicspaternalism


Open Access

This is published under the terms of CC-BY.

In this article:
1. Introduction 
2. Origins of Inclusive Rationality 
3. Is Inclusive Rationality too Inclusive? 
4. Struggle and Internal Conflict 
5. Aspiration and Endogenous Preference Change 
6. Conclusion 


In Escaping Paternalism: Rationality, Behavioral Economics, and Public Policy Rizzo and Whitman challenge behavioral economics and paternalism on multiple levels, from conceptual underpinnings and the meaning of rationality to more applied implications and policy recommendations. This paper delves deeper into Rizzo and Whitman’s conception of inclusive rationality and places it within a larger historical tradition of purposeful behavior, internal conflict, and endogenous preference formation and change. I make a case to more carefully study two human characteristics – struggle and aspiration, to further the research program of inclusive rationality and behavioral economics. I argue that to extend this research program economists must: (1) have an idiom for struggle that does not deem a behavior rational or irrational either by assumption or by the normative standard set by an external expert; (2) take the process of endogenous preference formation and change more seriously; (3) have a language to model and explain aspiration or becoming; and (4) think about edge cases like relapsing addiction.



Review of Behavioral Economics, Volume 8, Issue 3-4 Special Issue: Escaping Paternalism: Articles Overiew
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.