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Choice and individual welfare

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  • Chambers, Christopher P.
  • Hayashi, Takashi

Abstract

We propose an abstract method of systematically assigning a “rational” ranking to non-rationalizable choice data. Our main idea is that any method of ascribing welfare to an individual as a function of choice is subjective, and depends on the economist undertaking the analysis. We provide a simple example of the type of exercise we propose. Namely, we define an individual welfare functional as a mapping from stochastic choice functions into weak orders. A stochastic choice function (or choice distribution) gives the empirical frequency of choices for any possible opportunity set (framing factors may also be incorporated into the model). We require that for any two alternatives x and y, if our individual welfare functional recommends x over y given two distinct choice distributions, then it also recommends x over y for any mixture of the two choice distributions. Together with some mild technical requirements, such an individual welfare functional must weight every opportunity set and assign a utility to each alternative x which is the sum across all opportunity sets of the weighted probability of x being chosen from the set. It therefore requires us to have a “prior view” about how important or representative a choice of x at a given situation is.

Suggested Citation

  • Chambers, Christopher P. & Hayashi, Takashi, 2012. "Choice and individual welfare," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(5), pages 1818-1849.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:147:y:2012:i:5:p:1818-1849
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2012.01.013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daniel Kahneman & Peter P. Wakker & Rakesh Sarin, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-406.
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    1. repec:the:publsh:1769 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Yusufcan Masatlioglu & Daisuke Nakajima & Erkut Y. Ozbay, 2012. "Revealed Attention," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2183-2205, August.
    3. B. Douglas Bernheim, 2010. "Behavioral welfare economics," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 57(2), pages 123-151, June.
    4. Jose Apesteguia & Miguel A. Ballester, 2015. "A Measure of Rationality and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(6), pages 1278-1310.
    5. Eddie Dekel & Barton L. Lipman, 2010. "How (Not) to Do Decision Theory," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 257-282, September.
    6. Jorge Alcalde-Unzu & Marc Vorsatz, 2016. "Do we agree? Measuring the cohesiveness of preferences," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 80(2), pages 313-339, February.
    7. Yusufcan Masatlioglu & Daisuke Nakajima, 2015. "Completing Incomplete Revealed Preference Under Limited Attention," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 66(3), pages 285-299, September.
    8. Hiroki Nishimura, 2014. "The Transitive Core: Inference of Welfare from Nontransitive Preference Relations," Working Papers 201419, University of California at Riverside, Department of Economics.
    9. repec:spr:sochwe:v:48:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00355-016-1020-x is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Sandroni, Alvaro & Cherepavov, Vadim & Feddersen, Timothy, 2013. "Rationalization," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(3), September.
    11. Xiangyu Qu, 2016. "Commitment and anticipated utilitarianism," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(2), pages 349-358, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Choice; Welfare; Individual welfare functional; Behavioral welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis

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