Rational Choice Theory

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There are six key elements that make up a good theory. These elements include parsimony, scope, logical consistency, testability, empirical validity, and policy implications. Parsimony is when a particular phenomenon is explained in a simple way. There is a problem with explaining criminal behavior in a simple way and that is that criminal behavior is complex. Even though criminal behavior is complex criminologists still attempted to explain it simply. An example of this would be rational choice theory. This theory explains crime or deviant behavior by some ones choice. Scope is the degree of explanation about a phenomenon that the theory will achieve. An example of this is the low self-control theory it seeks to explain criminal and deviant …show more content…
This theory states that human beings are rational and have free will to make decisions. This theory uses the hedonistic calculus which is pleasure versus pain. This means that the individuals need to have the pleasure outweigh the punishment for the crime or deviant behavior they will commit. The types of social control for this theory that have been tested are formal and informal. The formal control has been proven to help reduce the behavior of an individual but, it is not as effective as informal. Formal control/sanctions are those that are presented by the law enforcement, courts, etc. they have a more direct influence. Informal controls come from family, peers, and community. These types of controls can included shame, criticism, embarrassment, ridicule, etc., these are to make an individual feel as though they do not fit in with the society. Another criteria that this theory explains is that all types of crime can be explained through a person’s choice. It is said to have a wide scope because this theory does not just focus on one crime in particular. This theory does not give definite policy implication guidance but it is advising that is the punishment of a crime is outweighs the pleasure there will be less criminal and deviant behavior. It is advising that we need to make tougher sanctions for crimes and deviant behavior. Parsimony is explained simply that people choose to do things if the pleasure they receive from it is far higher than the form of punishment they will

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