Who Is (More) Rational?
Revealed preference theory offers a criterion for decision-making quality: if decisions are high quality then there exists a utility function the choices maximize. We conduct a large-scale experiment to test for consistency with utility maximization. Consistency scores vary markedly within and across socioeconomic groups. In particular, consistency is strongly related to wealth: a standard deviation increase in consistency is associated with 15-19 percent more household wealth. This association is quantitatively robust to conditioning on correlates of unobserved constraints, preferences, and beliefs. Consistency with utility maximization under laboratory conditions thus captures decision-making ability that applies across domains and influences important real-world outcomes.
Volume (Year): 104 (2014)
Issue (Month): 6 (June)
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- Casper Ewijk & Bas Jacobs & Ruud Mooij, 2007. "Welfare Effects of Fiscal Subsidies on Home Ownership in the Netherlands," De Economist, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 323-336, September.
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