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The unimportance of the choice-value thesis in economics


  • Björn Frank


The choice-value thesis claims that people always choose what is best for them, given their information on the set of alternatives. This paper attempts to show that this assumption is less important than is suggested by the high esteem in which it is held. Modern economics neither relies on it, as shown by inspecting a sample of 742 papers, nor does the rejection of the choice-value thesis imply paternalism, as is sometimes suggested. It is shown that paternalism can be argued against without referring to the choice-value thesis. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 2002

Suggested Citation

  • Björn Frank, 2002. "The unimportance of the choice-value thesis in economics," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 8(2), pages 97-106, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:iaecre:v:8:y:2002:i:2:p:97-106:10.1007/bf02295340
    DOI: 10.1007/BF02295340

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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.
    2. Mankiw, N Gregory, 1987. "Government Purchases and Real Interest Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(2), pages 407-419, April.
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    5. Besley, Timothy, 1988. "A simple model for merit good arguments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 371-383, April.
    6. Russell, Thomas & Thaler, Richard, 1985. "The Relevance of Quasi Rationality in Competitive Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1071-1082, December.
    7. Boland, Lawrence A, 1981. "On the Futility of Criticizing the Neoclassical Maximization Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 1031-1036, December.
    8. Kooreman, Peter & Kapteyn, Arie, 1987. "A Disaggregated Analysis of the Allocation of Time within the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(2), pages 223-249, April.
    9. Broome, John, 1978. "Choice and Value in Economics," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(3), pages 313-333, November.
    10. John Conlisk, 1996. "Why Bounded Rationality?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 669-700, June.
    11. Goerke, Laszlo, 1997. "An Open Shop, Wage Bargaining, and Taxation--A Note," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 651-657, October.
    12. Morgan, Theodore, 1988. "Theory versus Empiricism in Academic Economics: Update and Comparison s," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 159-164, Fall.
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