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Preference for flexibility and the opportunities of choice

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  • Barberà, Salvador
  • Grodal, Birgit

Abstract

A decision-maker exhibits preference for flexibility if he always prefers any set of alternatives to its subsets, even when two of them contain the same best element. Desire for flexibility can be explained as the consequence of the agent’s uncertainty along a two-stage process, where he must first preselect a subset of alternatives from which to make a final choice later on. We investigate conditions on the rankings of subsets that are compatible with the following assumptions: (1) the agent is endowed with a VN-M utility function on alternatives, (2) the agent attaches a subjective probability to the survival of each subset of alternatives, and (3) the agent will make a best choice out of any set which becomes available, and ranks sets ex-ante in terms of the expected utility of the best surviving alternatives within them.

Suggested Citation

  • Barberà, Salvador & Grodal, Birgit, 2011. "Preference for flexibility and the opportunities of choice," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 272-278.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:mateco:v:47:y:2011:i:3:p:272-278
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmateco.2010.12.009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sen, Amartya, 1988. "Freedom of choice : Concept and content," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 269-294, March.
    2. Sen, Amartya, 1991. "Welfare, preference and freedom," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 15-29, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Manzini, Paola & Mariotti, Marco, 2013. "Imperfect Attention and Menu Evaluations," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-98, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    2. Marco Casari, 2009. "Pre-commitment and flexibility in a time decision experiment," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 117-141, April.
    3. Larry G. Epstein, 2006. "An Axiomatic Model of Non-Bayesian Updating," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(2), pages 413-436.
    4. Bleichrodt, Han & Quiggin, John, 2013. "Capabilities as menus: A non-welfarist basis for QALY evaluation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 128-137.
    5. Matthew Ryan, 2014. "Belief functions and preference for flexibility," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 34(1), pages 581-588.
    6. Matias D. Cattaneo & Xinwei Ma & Yusufcan Masatlioglu & Elchin Suleymanov, 2017. "A Random Attention Model," Papers 1712.03448, arXiv.org, revised Apr 2018.

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    Keywords

    Flexibility; Preferences; Uncertainity;

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