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Beyond Revealed Preference Choice Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics

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  • Douglas Bernheim

    ()
    (Tax and Budget Policy Program, Stanford University)

  • Antonio Rangel

    (Department of Economics, Stanford University)

Abstract

This paper proposes a choice-theoretic framework for evaluating economic welfare with the following features. (1) It is applicable irrespective of the positive model used to describe behavior. (2) It subsumes standard welfare economics both as a special case (when standard choice axioms are satisfied) and as a limiting case (when behavioral anomalies are small). (3) It requires only data on choices. (4) It is easily applied in the context of specific behavioral theories, such as the ß, d model of time inconsistency, for which it has novel normative implications. (5) It generates natural counterparts for the standard tools of applied welfare analysis, including compensating and equivalent variation, consumer surplus, Pareto optimality, and the contract curve, and permits a broad generalization of the first welfare theorem. (6) Though not universally discerning, it lends itself to principled refinements.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 07-031.

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Date of creation: Dec 2007
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Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:07-031

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Related research

Keywords: Economic Welware; behavior economics; welfare analysis; consumer surplus; Pareto optimality;

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  1. Dan Ariely & George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 2003. ""Coherent Arbitrariness": Stable Demand Curves Without Stable Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 73-105, February.
  2. Ariel Rubinstein & Yuval Salant, 2007. "(A,f) Choice with Frames," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000029, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Jay Bhattacharya & Darius Lakdawalla, 2004. "Time-Inconsistency and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 10345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. BOSSERT, Walter & SPRUMONT, Yves & SUZUMURA, Kotaro, 2002. "Consistent Rationalizability," Cahiers de recherche 2002-12, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  5. Fon, Vincy & Otani, Yoshihiko, 1979. "Classical welfare theorems with non-transitive and non-complete preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 409-418, June.
  6. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-77, September.
  7. Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin ., 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Economics Working Papers 97-253, University of California at Berkeley.
  8. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2001. "Psychological Expected Utility Theory And Anticipatory Feelings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 55-79, February.
  9. David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
  10. Luca Rigotti & Chris Shannon, 2005. "Uncertainty and Risk in Financial Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 203-243, 01.
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  12. Rubinstein, Ariel & Salant, Yuval, 2006. "A model of choice from lists," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(1), pages 3-17, March.
  13. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
  14. Ehlers, Lars & Sprumont, Yves, 2008. "Weakened WARP and top-cycle choice rules," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 87-94, January.
  15. Green, Jerry & Hojman, Daniel, 2007. "Choice, Rationality and Welfare Measurement," Working Paper Series rwp07-054, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  16. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2006. "Random Expected Utility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 121-146, 01.
  17. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  18. Gale, D. & Mas-Colell, A., 1975. "An equilibrium existence theorem for a general model without ordered preferences," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 9-15, March.
  19. Gil Kalai & Ariel Rubinstein & Ran Spiegler, 2002. "Rationalizing Choice Functions By Multiple Rationales," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2481-2488, November.
  20. Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, 2003. "Libertarian Paternalism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 175-179, May.
  21. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2001. "Temptation and Self-Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1403-1435, November.
  22. Robert Sugden, 2004. "The Opportunity Criterion: Consumer Sovereignty Without the Assumption of Coherent Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1014-1033, September.
  23. Suzumura, Kataro, 1976. "Remarks on the Theory of Collective Choice," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 43(172), pages 381-90, November.
  24. Daniel Burghart & Trudy Cameron & Geoffrey Gerdes, 2007. "Valuing publicly sponsored research projects: Risks, scenario adjustments, and inattention," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 77-105, August.
  25. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2004. "Rationalizing Boundedly Rational Choice," Microeconomics 0407005, EconWPA, revised 21 Jul 2005.
  26. Mas-Colell, Andrew, 1974. "An equilibrium existence theorem without complete or transitive preferences," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 237-246, December.
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