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Rationally inattentive preferences and hidden information costs

Author

Listed:
  • de Oliveira, Henrique

    () (Department of Economics, Penn State University)

  • Denti, Tommaso

    () (Department of Economics, MIT)

  • Mihm, Maximilian

    () (Division of Social Science, NYU Abu Dhabi)

  • Ozbek, Kemal

    () (School of Economics & Finance, University of St Andrews)

Abstract

We show how information acquisition costs can be identified using observable choice data. Identifying information costs from behavior is especially relevant when these costs depend on factors--such as time, effort, and cognitive resources--that are difficult to observe directly, as in models of rational inattention. Using willingness-to-pay data for opportunity sets--which require more or less information to make choices--we establish a set of canonical properties that are necessary and sufficient to identify information costs. We also provide an axiomatic characterization of the induced rationally inattentive preferences, and show how they reveal the amount of information a decision maker acquires.

Suggested Citation

  • de Oliveira, Henrique & Denti, Tommaso & Mihm, Maximilian & Ozbek, Kemal, 2017. "Rationally inattentive preferences and hidden information costs," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 12(2), May.
  • Handle: RePEc:the:publsh:2302
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Filip Matêjka & Alisdair McKay, 2015. "Rational Inattention to Discrete Choices: A New Foundation for the Multinomial Logit Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(1), pages 272-298, January.
    2. Ellis, Andrew, 2018. "Foundations for optimal inattention," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 173(C), pages 56-94.
    3. Cheremukhin, Anton & Popova, Anna & Tutino, Antonella, 2015. "A theory of discrete choice with information costs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 34-50.
    4. Antonella Tutino, 2013. "Rationally inattentive consumption choices," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(3), pages 421-439, July.
    5. Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & Aldo Rustichini, 2006. "Ambiguity Aversion, Robustness, and the Variational Representation of Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1447-1498, November.
    6. Yusufcan Masatlioglu & Daisuke Nakajima & Erkut Y. Ozbay, 2012. "Revealed Attention," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2183-2205, August.
    7. Andrew Caplin & Mark Dean, 2015. "Revealed Preference, Rational Inattention, and Costly Information Acquisition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(7), pages 2183-2203, July.
    8. Kreps, David M, 1979. "A Representation Theorem for "Preference for Flexibility"," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 565-577, May.
    9. Dillenberger, David & Lleras, Juan Sebastián & Sadowski, Philipp & Takeoka, Norio, 2014. "A theory of subjective learning," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 287-312.
    10. Haluk Ergin & Todd Sarver, 2010. "A Unique Costly Contemplation Representation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1285-1339, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Luciano Pomatto & Philipp Strack & Omer Tamuz, 2018. "The cost of information," Papers 1812.04211, arXiv.org, revised Feb 2019.
    2. Andrew Caplin & Mark Dean & John Leahy, 2017. "Rationally Inattentive Behavior: Characterizing and Generalizing Shannon Entropy," NBER Working Papers 23652, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Mogens Fosgerau & Emerson Melo & André de Palma & Matthew Shum, 2017. "Discrete Choice and Rational Inattention: A General Equivalence Result," Working Papers hal-01501313, HAL.
    4. Frank Huettner, & Tamer Boyaci, & Yalcin Akcay, 2016. "Consumer choice under limited attention when options have different information costs," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-16-04, ESMT European School of Management and Technology, revised 04 Oct 2016.
    5. Philippe Jehiel & Jakub Steiner, 2018. "Selective Sampling with Information-Storage Constraints," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp621, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    6. Jehiel, Philippe & Steiner, Jakub, 2017. "On Second Thoughts, Selective Memory, and Resulting Behavioral Biases," CEPR Discussion Papers 12546, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Tsakas, Elias, 2018. "Robust scoring rules," Research Memorandum 023, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    8. Tsakas, Elias, 2016. "Reasonable doubt revisited," Research Memorandum 017, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    9. repec:eee:jetheo:v:176:y:2018:i:c:p:727-760 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Valentino Dardanoni & Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti & Christopher J. Tyson, 2017. "Inferring Cognitive Heterogeneity from Aggregate Choices," Discussion Paper Series, School of Economics and Finance 201701, School of Economics and Finance, University of St Andrews, revised 25 May 2017.
    11. repec:spr:etbull:v:6:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s40505-017-0126-3 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Information costs; Blackwell order; information acquisition; menu choice; rational inattention;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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