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External Norms And Rationality Of Choice


  • Bossert, Walter
  • Suzumura, Kotaro


Ever since Sen criticized the notion of internal consistency of choice, there exists a widespread perception that the standard rationalizability approach to the theory of choice has difficulties in coping with the existence of external norms. We introduce a concept of norm-conditional rationalizability and show that external norms can be made compatible with the methods underlying the traditional rationalizability approach. To do so, we characterize norm-conditional rationalizability by means of suitable modifications of revealed preference axioms that are well established in the theory of rational choice on general domains as analysed in contributions by Richter and Hansson, for example. We compare our approach to alternative suggestions that have appeared in response to Sen's criticisms, and we discuss its links to Sen's notion of self-imposed choice constraints .

Suggested Citation

  • Bossert, Walter & Suzumura, Kotaro, 2009. "External Norms And Rationality Of Choice," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(02), pages 139-152, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:ecnphi:v:25:y:2009:i:02:p:139-152_99

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dan Qin, 2015. "On justifiable choice functions over opportunity sets," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 45(2), pages 269-285, September.
    2. Dietrich, Franz & List, Christian, 2016. "Mentalism Versus Behaviourism In Economics: A Philosophy-Of-Science Perspective," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(02), pages 249-281, July.
    3. Shintaro Tamate, 2015. "External Norms and Systematically Observed Norms," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 247-259, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations


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