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A Behavioral Model of Cost Reduction


  • Roy Radner


Three aspects of bounded rationality seem important for decision theory: (1) the existence of goals, (2) the search for improvement, and (3) long-run success. Two important criteria of long-run success are (a) the probability of survival, and (b) the long-run average rate of growth of performance (relative to one or more goals). One obstacle to the development of mathematical theories of resource allocation based on bounded rationality has been the absence of a clear and precise formulation of what is meant by "satisficing." In this paper I develop a few related mathematical models of satisficing in an uncertain environment, and apply them to the analysis of cost-reduction and technical change. An additional theme is that the allocation of resources in an organization is significantly influenced by the allocation of decision-making effort.

Suggested Citation

  • Roy Radner, 1975. "A Behavioral Model of Cost Reduction," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 6(1), pages 196-215, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:6:y:1975:i:spring:p:196-215

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edwin Mansfield & John Rapoport & Anthony Romeo & Samuel Wagner & George Beardsley, 1977. "Social and Private Rates of Return from Industrial Innovations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 91(2), pages 221-240.
    2. Mansfield, Edwin, 1980. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 863-873, December.
    3. Berndt, Ernst R & Christensen, Laurits R, 1974. "Testing for the Existence of a Consistent Aggregate Index of Labor Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 391-404, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Reinstaller, Andreas & Holzl, Werner, 2001. "The Technological Bias in the Establishment of a Technological Regime: the adoption and enforcement of early information processing technologies in US manufacturing, 1870-1930," Research Memorandum 013, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Siegfried Berninghaus & Werner Güth & M. Vittoria Levati & Jianying Qiu, 2006. "Satisficing in sales competition: experimental evidence," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2006-32, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    3. Kim B. Clark, 1979. "Unionization, Management Adjustment and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 0332, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Zhi Tang & Jintong Tang, 2012. "Entrepreneurial orientation and SME performance in China’s changing environment: The moderating effects of strategies," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 409-431, June.
    5. Butos William Ν. & Koppl Roger, 1999. "Hayek And Kirzner At The Keynesian Beauty Contest," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 9(2-3), pages 1-20, June.
    6. Sridhar Seshadri & Zur Shapira, 2001. "Managerial Allocation of Time and Effort: The Effects of Interruptions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(5), pages 647-662, May.

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