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Private Desires, Political Action
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Private Desires, Political Action
An Invitation to the Politics of Rational Choice



February 1997 | 176 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Private Desires, Political Action is an accessible overview of one of the most important approaches to the study of politics in the modern world - rational choice theory. Michael Laver does not set out to review this entire field, but rather to discuss how we might use rational choice theory to analyze the political competition that affects almost every aspect of our lives.

The broad-ranging scope of the book introduces the theory at many levels of analysis, including: the private desires of individuals; the social context of how people fulfil their desires; and the problems of collective action. The discussion of these problems extends into the arena of politics, where the activities of `political entrepreneurs' or politicians and the formation of political parties and coalitions are addressed.

 
Introduction
 
Rational Actors
 
Collective Action
 
Political Entrepreneurs, Politicians and Parties
 
Voting
 
Party Competition
 
The Politics of Coalition
 
Conclusion

`Private Desires, Political Action should be compulsory reading for every student of politics. This book is a rarity on at least two counts. First of all, it is an effortless yet inspiring guided tour of the contribution of rational choice theory to political science... Secondly, as Laver is concerned with substance rather than technique, he has written a very accessible book unashamedly free from mathematical formulas' - Political Studies

`With wit, style, and grace, on the one hand, and an impressive economy of presentation, on the other, Professor Michael Laver manages to embrace and envelop the entire rational choice program in political science of the past half century. He takes complicated materials and makes them transparent to the reader, not by reducing them to simplistic chat, but rather by teasing out the elemental features of the arguments and stitching them back together in an altogether reader-friendly fashion. In short, Private Desires, Political Action is a smooth and intellectually satisfying experience' - Kenneth A Shepsle, Harvard University

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