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A Million Answers to Twenty Questions: Choosing by Checklist

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  • Michael Mandler

    (Royal Holloway, University of London)

  • Paola Manzini

    (Queen Mary, University of London and IZA)

  • Marco Mariotti

    (Queen Mary, University of London)

Abstract

Many decision models in marketing science and psychology assume that a consumer chooses by proceeding sequentially through a checklist of desirable properties. These models are contrasted to the utility maximization model of rationality in economics. We show on the contrary that the two approaches are nearly equivalent. Moreover, the length of the shortest checklist as a proportion of the number of an agent's indifference classes shrinks to 0 (at an exponential rate) as the number of indifference classes increases. Checklists therefore provide a rapid procedural basis for utility maximization.

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Paper provided by Queen Mary, University of London, School of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers with number 622.

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Date of creation: Mar 2008
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Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp622

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Keywords: Bounded rationality; Procedural rationality; Utility maximization; Choice behavior;

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  1. Houy, Nicolas & Tadenuma, Koichi, 2007. "Lexicographic Compositions of Multiple Criteria for Decision Making," Discussion Papers 2007-13, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.
  2. Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132.
  3. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2007. "Sequentially Rationalizable Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1824-1839, December.
  4. Rubinstein, Ariel & Salant, Yuval, 2006. "A model of choice from lists," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(1), pages 3-17, March.
  5. Peter C. Fishburn, 1974. "Exceptional Paper--Lexicographic Orders, Utilities and Decision Rules: A Survey," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 20(11), pages 1442-1471, July.
  6. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1996. "Why Are Certain Properties of Binary Relations Relatively More Common in Natural Language?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 343-55, March.
  7. Michael Yee & Ely Dahan & John R. Hauser & James Orlin, 2007. "Greedoid-Based Noncompensatory Inference," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(4), pages 532-549, 07-08.
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