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A reference-dependent representation with subjective tastes

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  • Barbos, Andrei

Abstract

Experimental and empirical evidence documents instances where the presence of an inferior option in a menu increases the attractiveness of the better options from that menu and thus distorts the normative ranking across menus. We analyze the case when in addition to this so called context-effects bias there is also a concern for flexibility, in the spirit of the literature initiated by Kreps (1979) and Dekel et al. (2001). Since the context-effects bias and the desire for flexibility both increase the inclination of a decision maker to choose larger menus, our analysis allows the disentangling of the effect of the behavioral bias from the effect of the rational desire from flexibility. We find a weak condition on the set of ex post preferences under which the two effects are identifiable. We show that our representation is essentially unique. From a methodological viewpoint, our paper provides a novel technique of identifying probabilities on the state space of subjective uncertainty introduced by Dekel et al. (2001) when this state space is infinite. This method renders the infinite state space essentially finite with respect to a certain salient property.

Suggested Citation

  • Barbos, Andrei, 2013. "A reference-dependent representation with subjective tastes," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 111-123.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:mateco:v:49:y:2013:i:2:p:111-123
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmateco.2013.01.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eddie Dekel & Barton L Lipman & Aldo Rustichini & Todd Sarver, 2007. "Representing Preferences with a Unique Subjective State Space: A Corrigendum -super-1," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 591-600, March.
    2. Huber, Joel & Payne, John W & Puto, Christopher, 1982. " Adding Asymmetrically Dominated Alternatives: Violations of Regularity and the Similarity Hypothesis," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 90-98, June.
    3. Eddie Dekel & Barton L. Lipman & Aldo Rustichini, 2009. "Temptation-Driven Preferences," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 937-971.
    4. Kreps, David M, 1979. "A Representation Theorem for "Preference for Flexibility"," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 565-577, May.
    5. Eddie eckel & Barton L Lipman & Aldo Rustichini & Todd Sarver, 2005. "Representing Preferences with a Unique Subjective State Space: Corrigendum," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-042, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    6. Kalyan Chatterjee & R. Krishna, 2011. "On preferences with infinitely many subjective states," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 46(1), pages 85-98, January.
    7. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2001. "Temptation and Self-Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1403-1435, November.
    8. Igor Kopylov & Jawwad Noor, 2009. "Self-Deception and Choice," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000319, David K. Levine.
    9. Dekel, Eddie & Lipman, Barton L & Rustichini, Aldo, 2001. "Representing Preferences with a Unique Subjective State Space," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 891-934, July.
    10. Epstein, Larry G. & Kopylov, Igor, 2007. "Cold feet," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(3), September.
    11. William Neilson, 2006. "Axiomatic reference-dependence in behavior toward others and toward risk," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 28(3), pages 681-692, August.
    12. Barbos, Andrei, 2010. "Context effects: A representation of choices from categories," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 1224-1243, May.
    13. Larry G. Epstein & Igor Kopylov, 2007. "An axiomatic model of 'cold feet'," RCER Working Papers 533, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    14. Kopylov, Igor, 2009. "Finite additive utility representations for preferences over menus," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 354-374, January.
    15. Todd Sarver, 2008. "Anticipating Regret: Why Fewer Options May Be Better," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(2), pages 263-305, March.
    16. Efe A. Ok & Pietro Ortoleva & Gil Riella, 2015. "Revealed (P)Reference Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(1), pages 299-321, January.
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    Keywords

    Context effects; Reference point bias; Subjective uncertainty;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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