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A reference-dependent representation with subjective tastes

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  • Barbos, Andrei

Abstract

Experimental and empirical evidence documents instances where the presence of an inferior option in a menu increases the attractiveness of the better options from that menu and thus distorts the normative ranking across menus. We analyze the case when in addition to this so called context-effects bias there is also a concern for flexibility, in the spirit of the literature initiated by Kreps (1979) and Dekel et al. (2001). Since the context-effects bias and the desire for flexibility both increase the inclination of a decision maker to choose larger menus, our analysis allows the disentangling of the effect of the behavioral bias from the effect of the rational desire from flexibility. We find a weak condition on the set of ex post preferences under which the two effects are identifiable. We show that our representation is essentially unique. From a methodological viewpoint, our paper provides a novel technique of identifying probabilities on the state space of subjective uncertainty introduced by Dekel et al. (2001) when this state space is infinite. This method renders the infinite state space essentially finite with respect to a certain salient property.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Mathematical Economics.

Volume (Year): 49 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 111-123

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Handle: RePEc:eee:mateco:v:49:y:2013:i:2:p:111-123

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jmateco

Related research

Keywords: Context effects; Reference point bias; Subjective uncertainty;

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References

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  1. Eddie Dekel, 1997. "A Unique Subjective State Space for Unforeseen Contingencies," Discussion Papers 1202, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Huber, Joel & Payne, John W & Puto, Christopher, 1982. " Adding Asymmetrically Dominated Alternatives: Violations of Regularity and the Similarity Hypothesis," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 90-98, June.
  3. Larry G. Epstein & Igor Kopylov, 2007. "An axiomatic model of 'cold feet'," RCER Working Papers 533, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. Eddie Dekel & Barton Lipman & Aldo Rustichini, 2006. "Temptation–Driven Preferences," Discussion Papers 1423, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Epstein, Larry G. & Kopylov, Igor, 2007. "Cold feet," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(3), September.
  6. W. Pesendorfer & F. Gul, 1999. "Temptation and Self-Control," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f1, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  7. Jawwad Noor & Igor Kopylov, 2010. "Self-Deception and Choice," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2010-042, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  8. Barbos, Andrei, 2010. "Context effects: A representation of choices from categories," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 1224-1243, May.
  9. Kopylov, Igor, 2009. "Finite additive utility representations for preferences over menus," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 354-374, January.
  10. Kreps, David M, 1979. "A Representation Theorem for "Preference for Flexibility"," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 565-77, May.
  11. William Neilson, 2006. "Axiomatic reference-dependence in behavior toward others and toward risk," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 681-692, 08.
  12. Eddie eckel & Barton L Lipman & Aldo Rustichini & Todd Sarver, 2005. "Representing Preferences with a Unique Subjective State Space: Corrigendum," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-042, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  13. Eddie Dekel & Barton L Lipman & Aldo Rustichini & Todd Sarver, 2007. "Representing Preferences with a Unique Subjective State Space: A Corrigendum -super-1," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 591-600, 03.
  14. Kalyan Chatterjee & R. Krishna, 2011. "On preferences with infinitely many subjective states," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 85-98, January.
  15. Todd Sarver, 2008. "Anticipating Regret: Why Fewer Options May Be Better," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(2), pages 263-305, 03.
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