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The Computational Complexity of Rationalizing Behavior

  • Apesteguia, Jose
  • Ballester, Miguel A.

We study the computational complexity of rationalizing choice behavior. We do so by analyzing two polar cases, and a number of intermediate ones. In our most structured case, that is where choice behavior is defined in universal choice domains and satisfies the "weak axiom of revealed preference," finding the complete preorder rationalizing choice behavior is a simple matter. In the polar case, where no restriction whatsoever is imposed, either on choice behavior or on choice domain, finding a collection of complete preorders that rationalizes behavior turns out to be intractable. We also show that the task of finding the rationalizing complete preorders is equivalent to a graph problem. This allows the search for existing algorithms in the graph theory literature, for the rationalization of choice.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Mathematical Economics.

Volume (Year): 46 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 356-363

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Handle: RePEc:eee:mateco:v:46:y:2010:i:3:p:356-363
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jmateco

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  1. Ariel Rubinstein, 2005. "Economics and Language," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000654, UCLA Department of Economics.
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