Status quo maintenance reconsidered: changing or incomplete preferences?
After reviewing the evidence for status quo maintenance (SQM), I consider how to reconcile SQM with traditional consumer theory. Behavioural economists usually let agents' preferences change as a function of their endowments, treating the same person with different endowments as a set of distinct agents. Many properties of preferences then become immune to empirical test and it becomes impossible to judge whether an agent's decisions make the agent better or worse off. This impedes prediction of when decision rules are likely to change. SQM can alternatively be explained with unchanging preferences if preferences are incomplete. SQM is then consistent with self-interest and there is no reason why it should not persist. Copyright 2004 Royal Economic Society.
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Volume (Year): 114 (2004)
Issue (Month): 499 (November)
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