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How Demanding Is the Revealed Preference Approach to Demand?

  • Timothy K. M. Beatty
  • Ian A. Crawford

A well-known problem with revealed preference methods is that when data are found to satisfy their restrictions it is hard to know whether this should be viewed as a triumph for economic theory, or a warning that these conditions are so undemanding that almost anything goes. This paper allows researchers to make this distinction. Our approach uses an axiomatic characterization of a measure of predictive success due to Selten (1991). We illustrate the idea using a panel dataset. The results show that this approach can lead us to radically reassess our view of the empirical performance of economic theory. (JEL D11, D12)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
Issue (Month): 6 (October)
Pages: 2782-95

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:6:p:2782-95
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Sippel, Reinhard, 1997. "An Experiment on the Pure Theory of Consumer's Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1431-44, September.
  2. Laura Blow & Martin Browning & Ian Crawford, 2005. "Revealed preference analysis of characteristics models," CAM Working Papers 2005-04, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  3. Laurens Cherchye & Bram De Rock & Frederic Vermeulen, 2007. "The Collective Model of Household Consumption: A Nonparametric Characterization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 553-574, 03.
  4. M. Keith Chen & Venkat Lakshminarayanan & Laurie R. Santos, 2006. "How Basic Are Behavioral Biases? Evidence from Capuchin Monkey Trading Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 517-537, June.
  5. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-73, July.
  6. Hanoch, Giora & Rothschild, Michael, 1972. "Testing the Assumptions of Production Theory: A Nonparametric Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 256-75, March-Apr.
  7. Varian, Hal R., 1985. "Non-parametric analysis of optimizing behavior with measurement error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 445-458.
  8. Aizcorbe, Ana M, 1991. "A Lower Bound for the Power of Nonparametric Tests," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 9(4), pages 463-67, October.
  9. Diewert, W E, 1973. "Afriat and Revealed Preference Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 419-25, July.
  10. Famulari, Melissa, 1995. "A Household-Based, Nonparametric Test of Demand Theory," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 372-82, May.
  11. Varian, Hal R., 1990. "Goodness-of-fit in optimizing models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1-2), pages 125-140.
  12. Bronars, Stephen G, 1987. "The Power of Nonparametric Tests of Preference Maximization [The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis]," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 693-98, May.
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