Extending the Bounds of Rationality: Evidence and Theories of Preferential Choice
Abstract:Most economists define rationality in terms of consistency principles. These principles place "bounds" on rationality—bounds that range from perfect consistency to weak stochastic transitivity. Several decades of research on preferential choice has demonstrated how and when people violate these bounds. Many of these violations are interconnected and reflect systematic behavioral principles. We discuss the robustness of the violations and review the theories that are able to predict them. We further discuss the adaptive functions of the violations. From this perspective, choices do more than reveal preferences; they also reflect subtle, yet often quite reasonable, dependencies on the environment.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2006-09-01
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- The Journal of Economic Literature (JEL) began publication in 1969 under the auspices of the American Economic Association with quarterly issues appearing in March, June, September, and December. JEL contains survey and review articles, book reviews, an annotated bibliography of newly published books, and a list of current dissertations in North American universities.
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