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Rationality and Society

Rationality and Society

eISSN: 14617358 | ISSN: 10434631 | Current volume: 36 | Current issue: 2 Frequency: Quarterly
Rationality & Society is a peer-reviewed journal which focuses on the contributions of rational-action based theory to a broad range of disciplines studying human societies, and on the questions and controversies surrounding this approach.

Authors are encouraged to submit original papers dealing with social-science theory and empirical social-science research based on the rational-action paradigm, as well as work challenging or further developing this approach. Qualitative and quantitative approaches as well as theoretical and empirical works are welcome.

In particular, the editors encourage contributions that relate rational-action based research to pressing societal challenges, such as climate-change, societal polarization, or migration and contributions linking it to new approaches emerging from, e.g., computational social science, complexity science, cognitive science, neuroscience, or genetics.

Rationality & Society is committed to a swift review process. Editorial first decisions (reject or review) are usually made within two weeks after initial submission. The median decision time for peer-reviewed submissions is 60 days.

Rationality & Society is a peer-reviewed journal which focuses on the contributions of rational-action based theory to a broad range of disciplines studying human societies, and on the questions and controversies surrounding this approach. Read more about the aims, scope and envisaged future developments of Rationality & Society in an editorial statement by the current editor-in-chief.

Why Choose Rationality and Society?

Against the background of ever-greater specialization and fragmentation among scientific fields, the rational action paradigm offers an inter-lingua of the social sciences connecting disciplines such as economics, sociology, political science, historical sciences, cognitive psychology, moral philosophy or law. Contributions to Rationality and Society demonstrate the use of the rational action paradigm for developing theoretically consistent, analytically precise, empirically refutable, and practically useful theories of societal phenomena studied in a multitude of disciplines.

Contributions, Societal Challenges and Scientific Controversy

Contributions to Rationality and Society continue to show the power of the rational action approach for studying empirical phenomena linked to pressing societal problems, as varied as social and educational inequality, social movements, xenophobia, populism, voter turnout, corruption, wage bargaining, migration, small- and large-scale cooperation problems including climate change — all from a unifying perspective. Work appearing in this journal also continues to add significantly to the further development of the rationality paradigm itself and to the scholarly discussion of its merits and limitations. Fundamental theoretical work as well as empirical studies appear in this journal, applying, elaborating upon or testing a range of variations, extensions, criticisms, and refinements of the rational choice model of human behavior.

Social Research and Theory

Rationality and Society is an international journal focusing on the latest social research and theory using the rational action paradigm as its foundation. The journal publishes scholarly articles that further this research and theory, but its pages are also open to work that challenges this approach.

Rationality and Society contains purely theoretical work, as well as qualitative and quantitative empirical research, and policy analysis.

Discussion and Debate

Rationality and Society actively solicits comments and criticism on papers published in its own pages. The Forum is a section which promotes open and critical debate. The editors welcome scholarly discourse as a contribution to the intellectual vitality and further development of rational action-based theory and research across the social sciences.

Andreas Flache University of Groningen, Netherlands
Founding Editor
James S. Coleman University of Chicago, IL, USA
Managing Editor
Jonas Stein University of Groningen, Netherlands
Associate Editors
Mary C. Brinton Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
Robert H. Frank Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Douglas D. Heckathorn Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Victor G. Nee Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Editorial Board
Delia Baldassari New York University, USA
Carlo Barone Science Po, France
Stephen Benard Indiana University Bloomington, USA
Steven J. Brams New York University, USA
Ronald S. Burt University of Chicago, USA
Jules L Coleman Yale University, USA
Rense Corten Utrecht University, Netherlands
Jacob Dijkstra University of Groningen, Netherlands
Emily Erikson Yale University, USA
Bruno S. Frey Zeppelin University, Germany
Vincenz Frey University of Groningen, Netherlands
Diego Gambetta Collegio Carlo Alberto, Italy
Thomas Gautschi University of Mannheim, Germany
Ashley Harrell Duke University, USA
Michael Hechter Arizona State University, USA
Peter Hedström Institute for Analytical Sociology, Sweden
Christine Horne Washington State University, USA
Guillermina Jasso New York University, USA
Timur Kuran Duke University, USA
Siegwart Lindenberg University of Groningen, Netherlands
Freda B. Lynn University of Iowa, USA
Michael W. Macy Cornell University, USA
Peter V. Marsden Harvard University, USA
Stephen L. Morgan Johns Hopkins University, USA
Karl-Dieter Opp University of Leipzig, Germany
Trond Petersen University of California, USA
Brent Simpson University of South Carolina, USA
Frans N. Stokman University of Groningen, Netherlands
Piotr Swistak University of Maryland at College Park, USA
Milena Tsvetkova London School of Economics, United Kingdom
Rafael Wittek University of Groningen, Netherlands
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  • Manuscript Submission Guidelines: Rationality and Society

    Please read the guidelines below then visit the Journal’s submission site to upload your manuscript. Please note that manuscripts not conforming to these guidelines may be returned.

    Only manuscripts of sufficient quality that meet the aims and scope of Rationality and Society will be reviewed.

    There are no fees payable to submit or publish in this Journal. Open Access options are available - see section 3.3 below.

    As part of the submission process you will be required to warrant that you are submitting your original work, that you have the rights in the work, and that you have obtained and can supply all necessary permissions for the reproduction of any copyright works not owned by you, that you are submitting the work for first publication in the Journal and that it is not being considered for publication elsewhere and has not already been published elsewhere. Please see our guidelines on prior publication and note that Rationality and Society may accept submissions of papers that have been posted on pre-print servers; please alert the Editorial Office when submitting (contact details are at the end of these guidelines) and include the DOI for the preprint in the designated field in the manuscript submission system. Authors should not post an updated version of their paper on the preprint server while it is being peer reviewed for possible publication in the journal. If the article is accepted for publication, the author may re-use their work according to the journal's author archiving policy. If your paper is accepted, you must include a link on your preprint to the final version of your paper.

    1. What do we publish?
      1.1 Aims & Scope
      1.2 Article types
      1.3 Writing your paper
    2. Editorial policies
      2.1 Peer review policy
      2.2 Authorship
      2.3 Acknowledgements
      2.4 Funding
      2.5 Declaration of conflicting interests
      2.6 Research data
    3. Publishing policies
      3.1 Publication ethics
      3.2 Contributor's publishing agreement
      3.3 Open access and author archiving
    4. Preparing your manuscript
      4.1 Formatting
      4.2 Title page
      4.3 Abstract
      4.4 Keywords
      4.5 Section headings
      4.6 Main text
      4.7 Tables and figures
      4.8 Statistical information
      4.9 Endnotes and footnotes
      4.10 References
      4.11 Acknowledgements
      4.12 Declaration of conflicting interests
      4.13 Funding
      4.14 Research data
      4.15 Supplemental material
      4.16 English language editing services
      4.17 Double-blind peer review
      4.18 Author biographies
    5. Submitting your manuscript
      5.1 ORCID
      5.2 Information required for completing your submission
      5.3 Permissions
    6. On acceptance and publication
      6.1 Sage Production
      6.2 Online First publication
      6.3 Access to your published article
      6.4 Promoting your article
    7. Further information

    1. What do we publish?

    1.1 Aims & Scope

    Before submitting your manuscript to Rationality and Society, please ensure you have read the Aims & Scope.

    1.2 Article Types

    R&S is an international journal that focuses on the growing contributions of rational-choice-based theory to social science analysis. Authors are encouraged to submit original papers dealing in social theory and social research based on the rational-choice paradigm, as well as work challenging this approach. The editors seek in particular to re-establish the connection of sociological discourse with work from moral philosophy, economics, political science, cognitive psychology, policy analysis, and game theory. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches, and both theoretical and empirical works, are welcome. The editors also solicit comments and criticism on papers published in its own pages.

    Although R&S does not have an official word count limit, most of our articles run from 8,000-10,000 words. We prefer well-edited papers that present their message as concisely as possible.

    1.3 Writing your paper

    The Sage Author Gateway has some general advice and on how to get published, plus links to further resources. Sage Author Services also offers authors a variety of ways to improve and enhance their article including English language editing, plagiarism detection, and video abstract and infographic preparation.

    1.3.1 Make your article discoverable

    When writing up your paper, think about how you can make it discoverable. The title, keywords and abstract are key to ensuring readers find your article through search engines such as Google. For information and guidance on how best to title your article, write your abstract and select your keywords, have a look at this page on the Gateway: How to Help Readers Find Your Article Online.

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    2. Editorial policies

    2.1 Peer review policy

    Sage does not permit the use of author-suggested (recommended) reviewers at any stage of the submission process, be that through the web-based submission system or other communication. Reviewers should be experts in their fields and should be able to provide an objective assessment of the manuscript. Our policy is that reviewers should not be assigned to a paper if:

    •  The reviewer is based at the same institution as any of the co-authors

    •  The reviewer is based at the funding body of the paper

    •  The author has recommended the reviewer

    •  The reviewer has provided a personal (e.g. Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail) email account and an institutional email account cannot be found after performing a basic Google search (name, department and institution). 

    2.2 Authorship

    All parties who have made a substantive contribution to the article should be listed as authors. Principal authorship, authorship order, and other publication credits should be based on the relative scientific or professional contributions of the individuals involved, regardless of their status. A student is usually listed as principal author on any multiple-authored publication that substantially derives from the student’s dissertation or thesis.

             Please note that AI chatbots, for example ChatGPT, should not be listed as authors. For more information see the policy on Use of ChatGPT and generative AI tools.

    2.3 Acknowledgements

    All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an Acknowledgements section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, or a department chair who provided only general support.

    Please supply any personal acknowledgements separately to the main text to facilitate anonymous peer review.

    2.3.1 Third party submissions

    Where an individual who is not listed as an author submits a manuscript on behalf of the author(s), a statement must be included in the Acknowledgements section of the manuscript and in the accompanying cover letter. The statements must:

    • Disclose this type of editorial assistance – including the individual’s name, company and level of input
    • Identify any entities that paid for this assistance
    • Confirm that the listed authors have authorized the submission of their manuscript via third party and approved any statements or declarations, e.g. conflicting interests, funding, etc.

    Where appropriate, Sage reserves the right to deny consideration to manuscripts submitted by a third party rather than by the authors themselves.

    2.4 Funding

    Rationality and Society requires all authors to acknowledge their funding in a consistent fashion under a separate heading.  Please visit the Funding Acknowledgements page on the Sage Journal Author Gateway to confirm the format of the acknowledgment text in the event of funding, or state that: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. 

    2.5 Declaration of conflicting interests

    Rationality and Society encourages authors to include a declaration of any conflicting interests and recommends you review the good practice guidelines on the Sage Journal Author Gateway.

    2.6 Research data

    The journal is committed to facilitating openness, transparency and reproducibility of research, and has the following research data sharing policy. For more information, including FAQs please visit the Sage Research Data policy pages.

    Subject to appropriate ethical and legal considerations, authors are required to:

    • share your research data in a relevant public data repository
    • include a data availability statement linking to your data. If it is not possible to share your data, we encourage you to consider using the statement to explain why it cannot be shared.
    • cite this data in your research

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    3. Publishing Policies

    3.1 Publication ethics

    Sage is committed to upholding the integrity of the academic record. We encourage authors to refer to the Committee on Publication Ethics’ International Standards for Authors and view the Publication Ethics page on the Sage Author Gateway.

    3.1.1 Plagiarism

    Rationality and Society and Sage take issues of copyright infringement, plagiarism or other breaches of best practice in publication very seriously. We seek to protect the rights of our authors and we always investigate claims of plagiarism or misuse of published articles. Equally, we seek to protect the reputation of the journal against malpractice. Submitted articles may be checked with duplication-checking software. Where an article, for example, is found to have plagiarised other work or included third-party copyright material without permission or with insufficient acknowledgement, or where the authorship of the article is contested, we reserve the right to take action including, but not limited to: publishing an erratum or corrigendum (correction); retracting the article; taking up the matter with the head of department or dean of the author's institution and/or relevant academic bodies or societies; or taking appropriate legal action.

    3.1.2 Prior publication

    If material has been previously published it is not generally acceptable for publication in a Sage journal. However, there are certain circumstances where previously published material can be considered for publication. Please refer to the guidance on the Sage Author Gateway or if in doubt, contact the Editor at the address given below.

    3.2 Contributor's publishing agreement

    Before publication, Sage requires the author as the rights holder to sign a Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement. Sage’s Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement is an exclusive licence agreement which means that the author retains copyright in the work but grants Sage the sole and exclusive right and licence to publish for the full legal term of copyright. Exceptions may exist where an assignment of copyright is required or preferred by a proprietor other than Sage. In this case copyright in the work will be assigned from the author to the society. For more information please visit the Sage Author Gateway.

    3.3 Open access and author archiving

    Rationality and Society offers optional open access publishing via the Sage Choice programme and Open Access agreements, where authors can publish open access either discounted or free of charge depending on the agreement with Sage. Find out if your institution is participating by visiting Open Access Agreements at Sage. For more information on Open Access publishing options at Sage please visit Sage Open Access. For information on funding body compliance, and depositing your article in repositories, please visit Sage’s Author Archiving and Re-Use Guidelines and Publishing Policies.

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    4. Preparing your manuscript for submission

    4.1 Formatting

    The preferred format for your manuscript is Word. LaTeX files are also accepted. Word and (La)Tex templates are available on the Manuscript Submission Guidelines page of our Author Gateway. Please note that these are general templates from Sage that serve as an orientation for formatting but may deviate from the specific requirements set by Rationality & Society as indicated below.

    4.2 Title page

    Please include a title page with all authors and their affiliations. Upload your title page separately from your main manuscript so that double-blind peer-review is ensured. We recommend that you include acknowledgements and a declaration of competing interests on your title page.

    4.3 Abstract

    Your abstract should contain less than 250 words. Please refrain from including references in your abstract. It is not necessary to include the abstract in your main manuscript file.

    4.4 Keywords

    Please indicate at least four keywords that fittingly describe the content of your paper in our online submission system. Keywords do not need to be included in the main manuscript.

    4.5 Section headings

    Rationality & Society does not publish section numbers and asks authors to refrain from including numbered headings in their manuscripts. Please mark main headings in bold, italicize sub-headings and refrain from including more than two levels of headings. First letters in headings should be capitalized. Capitalize other words only if after a colon or when referring to proper nouns.

    4.6 Main text

    The main text of your manuscript should be Times New Roman, font size 12, 1.5 spaced, single column, standard margins. Do not include a running header, footer, or page numbering as these are automatically generated by the pdf compiler of the submission system.

    4.7 Tables and figures

    Please include tables and figures in the main text and not at the end of your document. Tables and figures should be numbered separately. For regression coefficients and other statistical estimates, please report standard errors in parentheses and indicate significance levels using the symbols in 4.8 Statistical information.

    For guidance on the preparation of illustrations, pictures and graphs in electronic format, please visit Sage’s Manuscript Submission Guidelines. Figures supplied in color will appear in color online regardless of whether or not these illustrations are reproduced in color in the printed version. For specifically requested color reproduction in print, you will receive information regarding the costs from Sage after receipt of your accepted article.

    4.8 Statistical information

    Please report statistical information according to the Number and Statistics Guide, APA Style 7th Edition. Use the following symbols for conventional significance levels: † p ≤ 0.10; * p ≤ 0.05; ** p ≤ 0.01; *** p ≤ 0.001. Do not report statistics in both the text and a table or figure.

    4.9 Endnotes and footnotes

    Rationality and Society does not publish footnotes. You may choose to include numbered endnotes, which should be included after the main text and before the reference list. We encourage you to use at most 10 endnotes. Please keep your endnotes concise.

    4.10 References

    Please include a reference list at the end of your main manuscript and ensure that your references are formatted according to the Sage Harvard reference style. View the Sage Harvard guidelines to ensure your manuscript conforms to this reference style.

    If you use EndNote to manage references, you can download the Sage Harvard EndNote output file.

    4.11 Acknowledgements

    We recommend that acknowledgments are stated on the title page. For more information on acknowledgements, see Section 2.3.

    4.12 Declaration of conflicting interests

    Please include a declaration of conflicting interests on your title page. For more information, see Section 2.5.

    4.13 Funding

    You will be asked to indicate funding information in our submission system. Do not include funding information elsewhere.

    4.14 Research data

    We require that you include a data availability statement in the main manuscript, after the endnotes. Please make sure that your research data does not identify you to ensure anonymous peer review. For more information see Section 2.6.

    4.15 Supplemental material

    Please include appendices in your main manuscript file upon initial submission so that reviewers have access to them. In principle, Rationality and Society publishes appendices online but not in print. For this reason, please provide appendices in a separate document once your manuscript has been accepted for publication. This facilitates publishing appendices online. For more information please refer to our guidelines on submitting supplementary files.

    4.16 English language editing services

    Authors seeking assistance with English language editing, translation, or figure and manuscript formatting to fit the journal’s specifications should consider using Sage Language Services. Visit Sage Language Services on our Journal Author Gateway for further information.

    4.17 Double-blind peer review

    Please mask all information in the manuscript that would identify you as an author with ‘DBPR’. Avoid phrases that would reveal your identity as an author (‘In my previous study’, ‘We previously found that’, etc.).

    4.18 Author biographies

    Rationality & Society does not publish author biographies. Please refrain from including such information in your manuscript.

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    5. Submitting your manuscript

    Rationality and Society is hosted on Sage Track, a web based online submission and peer review system powered by ScholarOne™ Manuscripts. Visit to login and submit your article online.

    IMPORTANT: Please check whether you already have an account in the system before trying to create a new one. If you have reviewed or authored for the journal in the past year it is likely that you will have had an account created.  For further guidance on submitting your manuscript online please visit ScholarOne Online Help.

    All papers must be submitted via the online system. If you would like to discuss your paper prior to submission, please refer to the contact details below. 

    5.1 ORCID

    As part of our commitment to ensuring an ethical, transparent and fair peer review process Sage is a supporting member of ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributor ID. ORCID provides a unique and persistent digital identifier that distinguishes researchers from every other researcher, even those who share the same name, and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between researchers and their professional activities, ensuring that their work is recognized. 

    The collection of ORCID IDs from corresponding authors is now part of the submission process of this journal. If you already have an ORCID ID you will be asked to associate that to your submission during the online submission process. We also strongly encourage all co-authors to link their ORCID ID to their accounts in our online peer review platforms. It takes seconds to do: click the link when prompted, sign into your ORCID account and our systems are automatically updated. Your ORCID ID will become part of your accepted publication’s metadata, making your work attributable to you and only you. Your ORCID ID is published with your article so that fellow researchers reading your work can link to your ORCID profile and from there link to your other publications.

    If you do not already have an ORCID ID please follow this link to create one or visit our ORCID homepage to learn more.

    5.2 Information required for completing your submission

    You will be asked to provide contact details and academic affiliations for all co-authors via the submission system and identify who is to be the corresponding author. These details must match what appears on your manuscript. The affiliation listed in the manuscript should be the institution where the research was conducted. If an author has moved to a new institution since completing the research, the new affiliation can be included in a manuscript note at the end of the paper. At this stage please ensure you have included all the required statements and declarations and uploaded any additional supplementary files (including reporting guidelines where relevant).

    5.3 Permissions

    Please also ensure that you have obtained any necessary permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere. For further information including guidance on fair dealing for criticism and review, please see the Copyright and Permissions page on the Sage Author Gateway.

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    6. On acceptance and publication

    6.1 Sage Production

    Your Sage Production Editor will keep you informed as to your article’s progress throughout the production process. Proofs will be made available to the corresponding author via our editing portal Sage Edit or by email, and corrections should be made directly or notified to us promptly. Authors are reminded to check their proofs carefully to confirm that all author information, including names, affiliations, sequence and contact details are correct, and that Funding and Conflict of Interest statements, if any, are accurate.

    6.2 Online First publication

    Online First allows final articles (completed and approved articles awaiting assignment to a future issue) to be published online prior to their inclusion in a journal issue, which significantly reduces the lead time between submission and publication. Visit the Sage Journals help page for more details, including how to cite Online First articles.

    6.3 Access to your published article

    Sage provides authors with online access to their final article.

    6.4 Promoting your article

    Publication is not the end of the process! You can help disseminate your paper and ensure it is as widely read and cited as possible. The Sage Author Gateway has numerous resources to help you promote your work. Visit the Promote Your Article page on the Gateway for tips and advice.

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    7. Further information

    Any correspondence, queries or additional requests for information on the manuscript submission process should be sent to the Rationality and Society editorial office as follows:


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