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How Demanding Is the Revealed Preference Approach to Demand?

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

Abstract

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)

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy K. M. Beatty & Ian A. Crawford, 2011. "How Demanding Is the Revealed Preference Approach to Demand?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2782-2795, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:6:p:2782-95
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Laura Blow & Martin Browning & Ian Crawford, 2008. "Revealed Preference Analysis of Characteristics Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(2), pages 371-389.
    2. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-973, July.
    3. 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 463-467, October.
    4. 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, March.
    5. 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 693-698, May.
    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 256-275, March-Apr.
    7. 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.
    8. W. E. Diewert, 1973. "Afriat and Revealed Preference Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(3), pages 419-425.
    9. Varian, Hal R., 1990. "Goodness-of-fit in optimizing models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1-2), pages 125-140.
    10. Famulari, Melissa, 1995. "A Household-Based, Nonparametric Test of Demand Theory," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 372-382, May.
    11. Sippel, Reinhard, 1997. "An Experiment on the Pure Theory of Consumer's Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1431-1444, September.
    12. Varian, Hal R., 1985. "Non-parametric analysis of optimizing behavior with measurement error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 445-458.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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