Rational Behavior

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DEFINITION of 'Rational Behavior'

A decision-making process that is based on making choices that result in the most optimal level of benefit or utility for the individual. Most conventional economic theories are created and used under the assumption that all individuals taking part in an action/activity are behaving rationally.

BREAKING DOWN 'Rational Behavior'

Rational behavior does not necessarily always involve receiving the most monetary or material benefit, because the satisfaction received could be purely emotional. For example, while it would be more financially lucrative for an executive to stay on at a company rather than retire early, it would still be considered rational behavior for her to seek an early retirement if she feels that the benefits of retired life outweigh the utility from the paycheck that she receives.

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