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Choice and individual welfare

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Author Info

  • Chambers, Christopher P.
  • Hayashi, Takashi

Abstract

We propose an abstract method of systematically assigning a “rational” ranking to non-rationalizable choice data. Our main idea is that any method of ascribing welfare to an individual as a function of choice is subjective, and depends on the economist undertaking the analysis. We provide a simple example of the type of exercise we propose. Namely, we define an individual welfare functional as a mapping from stochastic choice functions into weak orders. A stochastic choice function (or choice distribution) gives the empirical frequency of choices for any possible opportunity set (framing factors may also be incorporated into the model). We require that for any two alternatives x and y, if our individual welfare functional recommends x over y given two distinct choice distributions, then it also recommends x over y for any mixture of the two choice distributions. Together with some mild technical requirements, such an individual welfare functional must weight every opportunity set and assign a utility to each alternative x which is the sum across all opportunity sets of the weighted probability of x being chosen from the set. It therefore requires us to have a “prior view” about how important or representative a choice of x at a given situation is.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences in its series Working Papers with number 1286.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:clt:sswopa:1286

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Postal: Working Paper Assistant, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, 228-77, Caltech, Pasadena CA 91125
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Postal: Working Paper Assistant, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, 228-77, Caltech, Pasadena CA 91125
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Cited by:
  1. B. Douglas Bernheim, 2010. "Behavioral welfare economics," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 57(1), pages 1-22, March.
  2. Yusufcan Masatlioglu & Daisuke Nakajima & Erkut Y. Ozbay, 2012. "Revealed Attention," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2183-2205, August.
  3. Jose Apesteguia & Miguel Angel Ballester, 2010. "A measure of rationality and welfare," Economics Working Papers 1220, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 2011.
  4. Eddie Dekel & Barton L. Lipman, 2009. "How (Not) to Do Decision Theory," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000339, David K. Levine.
  5. Sandroni, Alvaro & Cherepavov, Vadim & Feddersen, Timothy, 2013. "Rationalization," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(3), September.

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