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How many consumers are rational?

  • Hoderlein, Stefan

Rationality places strong restrictions on individual consumer behavior. This paper is concerned with assessing the validity of the integrability constraints imposed by standard utility maximization, arising in classical consumer demand analysis. More specifically, we characterize the testable implications of negative semidefiniteness and symmetry of the Slutsky matrix across a heterogeneous population without assuming anything on the functional form of individual preferences. Our approach employs nonseparable models and is centered around a conditional independence assumption, which is sufficiently general to allow for endogenous regressors. Using British household data, we show that rationality is an acceptable description for large parts of the population.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 164 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 294-309

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Handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:164:y:2011:i:2:p:294-309
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  17. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1980. "An Almost Ideal Demand System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 312-26, June.
  18. Hoderlein, Stefan & Mihaleva, Sonya, 2008. "Increasing the price variation in a repeated cross section," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 316-325, December.
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