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A Theory Of Reference-Dependent Beavior

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Abstract

There is extensive field and experimental evidence in a wide variety of environments showing that behavior depends on a reference point. This paper provides an axiomatic characterization for such behavior. Our approach is dual, we study choice behavior and preference relations. We proceed by gradually imposing more structure on behavior, requiring higher levels of rationality, that free the decision-maker from certain types of manipulations. Depending on the phenomena one wants to model, one degree of behavioral structure will be appropriate or another. We provide two applications of the theory: one to model the status-quo bias, and another to model addictive behavior.

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File URL: ftp://ftp.econ.unavarra.es/pub/DocumentosTrab/DT0402.PDF
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra in its series Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra with number 0402.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2004
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Publication status: Published in
Handle: RePEc:nav:ecupna:'0402'

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Keywords: Individual rationality; reference-dependence; rationalization; path-independence; menu-independence; status-quo bias; addiction; habit formation.;

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References

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  1. A. Rubinstein & L. Zhou, 1998. "Choice Problems with a "Reference" Point," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 00s3, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  2. Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Psychology and Economics," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt8jd5z5j2, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Knetsch, Jack L, 1989. "The Endowment Effect and Evidence of Nonreversible Indifference Curves," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1277-84, December.
  4. Huck, Steffen & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Oechssler, Jörg, 1997. "Learning to like what you have: Explaining the endowment effect," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1997,38, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  5. Bossert, W. & Sprumont, Y., 2001. "Non-Deteriorating Choice," Cahiers de recherche 2001-01, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  6. Pollak, Robert A, 1970. "Habit Formation and Dynamic Demand Functions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(4), pages 745-63, Part I Ju.
  7. Matthew Rabin, 2006. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1133-1165, November.
  8. Raphaël Giraud, 2012. "Money matters: an axiomatic theory of the endowment effect," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 303-339, June.
  9. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
  10. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-48, December.
  11. Knetsch, Jack L & Sinden, J A, 1984. "Willingness to Pay and Compensation Demanded: Experimental Evidence of an Unexpected Disparity in Measures of Value," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(3), pages 507-21, August.
  12. Raphaël Giraud, 2004. "Reference-dependent preferences : rationality, mechanism and welfare implications," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques v04087, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  13. Masatlioglu, Yusufcan & Ok, Efe A., 2005. "Rational choice with status quo bias," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 1-29, March.
  14. Munro, Alistair & Sugden, Robert, 2003. "On the theory of reference-dependent preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 407-428, April.
  15. Sagi, Jacob S., 2006. "Anchored preference relations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 283-295, September.
  16. Mandler, Michael, 2005. "Incomplete preferences and rational intransitivity of choice," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 255-277, February.
  17. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
  18. Bateman, Ian J, et al, 1997. "A Test of the Theory of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 479-505, May.
  19. Tversky, Amos & Slovic, Paul & Kahneman, Daniel, 1990. "The Causes of Preference Reversal," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 204-17, March.
  20. Sugden, Robert, 2003. "Reference-dependent subjective expected utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 172-191, August.
  21. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Raphaël Giraud, 2010. "On the interpretation of the WTP/WTA gap as imprecise utility: an axiomatic analysis," Post-Print halshs-00490846, HAL.
  2. Lisa Bruttel & Tim Friehe, 2010. "On the path-dependence of tax compliance," TWI Research Paper Series 59, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
  3. Torben Andersen & Joydeep Bhattacharya, 2008. "On Myopia as Rationale for Social Security," CESifo Working Paper Series 2401, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Jose Apesteguia & Miguel A. Ballester, 2012. "Choice by sequential procedures," Economics Working Papers 1309, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  5. Daniel Krähmer & Rebecca Stone, 2013. "Anticipated regret as an explanation of uncertainty aversion," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 709-728, March.
  6. Piolatto, Amedeo & Rablen, Matthew D., 2013. "Prospect Theory and Tax Evasion: A Reconsideration of the Yitzhaki Puzzle," IZA Discussion Papers 7760, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Douadia Bougherara & Xavier Gassmann & Laurent Piet, 2011. "A structural estimation of French farmers’ risk preferences: an artefactual field experiment," Working Papers SMART - LERECO 11-06, INRA UMR SMART.
  8. Ghossoub, Mario, 2011. "Towards a Purely Behavioral Definition of Loss Aversion," MPRA Paper 37628, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 23 Mar 2012.
  9. Raphaël Giraud, 2012. "Money matters: an axiomatic theory of the endowment effect," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 303-339, June.
  10. Daniele Pennesi, 2013. "Endogenous Status Quo," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 314, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  11. Evren, Özgür & Ok, Efe A., 2011. "On the multi-utility representation of preference relations," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4-5), pages 554-563.
  12. Özgür Evren, 2012. "Scalarization Methods and Expected Multi-Utility Representations," Working Papers w0174, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  13. Papi, Mauro, 2012. "Satisficing choice procedures," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 451-462.

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