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GARP for Kids: On the Development of Rational Choice Behavior

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  • William T. Harbaugh
  • Kate Krause
  • Timothy R. Berry

Abstract

In this paper we examine the extent to which consumption choices by 7 and 11-year-old children and college undergraduates satisfy the axioms of revealed preference. We find that choices by even the 7-year-olds are considerably more likely to obey revealed preference axioms than would be true if they were choosing randomly. 11-year-olds do better still, while college students do no better than 11-year-old children. We also find that mathematical ability is not correlated with choosing rationally. We argue that this evidence suggests that the ability to choose rationally is not innate, but that it does develop quickly.
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Suggested Citation

  • William T. Harbaugh & Kate Krause & Timothy R. Berry, 2001. "GARP for Kids: On the Development of Rational Choice Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1539-1545, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:91:y:2001:i:5:p:1539-1545
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.91.5.1539
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-973, July.
    2. Kagel,John H. & Battalio,Raymond C. & Green,Leonard, 2007. "Economic Choice Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521035927, December.
    3. Raymond Battalio & Leonard Green & John Kagel, 1995. "Economic choice theory. an experimental analysis of animal behavior," Framed Field Experiments 00166, The Field Experiments Website.
    4. 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.
    5. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory

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