economic man(redirected from Homo economicus)
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economic man(ECONOMICS) the IDEALTYPE conception of the ‘rational economic actor’, in which the individual is assumed to seek to maximize his or her returns (satisfaction, UTILITY, profit) from economic activity No assumption need be made that, in reality, the actor always does actually aim at, or, still less, succeed in such maximizing activity. Rather, the ideal type allows the construction of rational models of economic behaviour, so that departures from such a rational model can be studied. In sociology many of Max WEBER's ideal types are posited as departures from rational types of behaviour, e.g. see TYPES OF SOCIAL ACTION.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000