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The impossibility of rational consumer choice

  • Jakob Kapeller

    ()

  • Bernhard Schütz

    ()

  • Stefan Steinerberger

    ()

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    In this paper we show that a rational consumer choice along the lines traditionally suggested might lead to paradoxical results if one considers multidimensional goods, which incorporate a series of incommensurable aspects. Thereby, we explore the similarity between the resulting paradox and Kenneth Arrow’s well known Impossibility Theorem. Based on these considerations we suggest a solution for the former problem along the lines of Herbert Simon and Amos Tversky, which might—if driven to its extreme—even provide a unique and arguably rational solution for consumer choice among multidimensional goods. Eventually, we argue that the resulting framework poses a potentially useful starting point for further developing an evolutionary theory of consumer choice. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2013

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00191-012-0268-2
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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Evolutionary Economics.

    Volume (Year): 23 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 39-60

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:23:y:2013:i:1:p:39-60
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    1. Simon, Herbert A, 1978. "Rationality as Process and as Product of Thought," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 1-16, May.
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    8. Sugden, Robert, 1991. "Rational Choice: A Survey of Contributions from Economics and Philosophy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 751-85, July.
    9. Sugden, Robert, 1985. "Why Be Consistent? A Critical Analysis of Consistency Requirements in Choice Theory," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 52(206), pages 167-83, May.
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    11. Wang, Ge & Huang, Samuel H. & Dismukes, John P., 2004. "Product-driven supply chain selection using integrated multi-criteria decision-making methodology," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 1-15, September.
    12. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, May.
    13. Brian J. Loasby, 2001. "special issue: Cognition, imagination and institutions in demand creation," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 7-21.
    14. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
    15. Richard Nelson & Davide Consoli, 2010. "An evolutionary theory of household consumption behavior," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(5), pages 665-687, October.
    16. Kenneth J. Arrow & Herve Raynaud, 1986. "Social Choice and Multicriterion Decision-Making," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262511754, June.
    17. H. Leibenstein, 1950. "Bandwagon, Snob, and Veblen Effects in the Theory of Consumers' Demand," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(2), pages 183-207.
    18. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1950. "A Difficulty in the Concept of Social Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 328.
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