Indifference and incompleteness distinguished by rational trade
We use an agent's strict preferences to define indifference and incompleteness relations that identify the sequences of trades that are rational to undertake. If an agent makes sequences of trades of options labeled indifferent, the agent will never be led to an inferior outcome, but trades of options where no preference judgments obtain can lead to diminished welfare. For one-shot choices, in contrast, there can be no behavioral distinction between indifference and incompleteness. Applications include: an isomorphism for incomplete preferences that indicates when weak and strict preferences contain interchangeable information, a characterization of the (possibly incomplete) preference relations consistent with a one-shot choice function, and an equivalent definition of incompleteness that relies on the philosophical theory of incommensurability.
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