The Moral or the Rational Peasant? Competing Hypotheses of Collective Action Academic Article uri icon

  •  
  • Overview
  •  
  • Research
  •  
  • Identity
  •  
  • Additional Document Info
  •  
  • View All
  •  

abstract

  • The analytical and empirical foundations of the moral-economy and rationalchoice approaches to peasant behavior are critically examined. Normative decisionmaking models are compared to models that assume household utility maximization. Differences between collective and individual rationality are highlighted. The importance and implications of risk aversion are explored. The effect of the introduction of markets on the economic security of peasant producers is considered, and evidence from Southeast Asian economic history is used to test the implications of both approaches. The results serve to challenge and qualify the arguments put forth by the moral economists on both analytical and empirical grounds.

publication date

  • August 1983