Cesare Beccarria helped to develop the Rational Choice Theory. He felt that people choose their decisions and actions based without thought of the consequences. This theory also looks at the social and economic behavior. According to Wolf and Bouffard (2007), he proposed that individuals would refrain from offending out of fear of the potential punishment that would result from such behavior (this is also the conceptual basis for the deterrence perspective in criminology) (Wolf & Bouffard, 2007). Cesare felt that people would not commit as many crimes if they feared punishment. The focus of this research paper will to be to compare and contrast the Rational Choice Theory with the Detterence Theory and Hirschi's Social Control Theory.
The Main Theory
According to Howells (2010), the rational choice theory is the idea that people tend to make
choices in a way that maximizes advantage while minimizing cost and that using this theory,
economists, political scientists. Howells also suggests that other researchers can attempt to model and
predict what people will do when presented with certain options (Howells, 2010). In his study,
Howells (2010) found that it is used increasingly to describe phenomena as varied as voting tendency,
consumerism, and business decisions (Howells, 2010).
The Rational Choice Theory was reintroduced in sociology at the beginning of the 1960s. It was reintroduced as the exchange theory and by the end of the 1960s. The rational choice theory influenced criminological theories such as the control theory and later routine activities theory.
The Rational Choice Theory suggests that the role of enlightened self-interest is imperative in the decision making process. This is a pre-sociology theory which is derived from behaviorism in psychology and the homo economics model in economics. People are viewed as making decisions based on what benefits will be made from the decision.