IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A Characterization of Sequential Rationalizability


  • Jose Apesteguia
  • Miguel Angel Ballester


A choice function is sequentially rationalizable if there is an ordered collection of asymmetric binary relations that identifies the selected alternative in every choice problem. We propose a property, F-consistency, and show that it characterizes the notion of sequential rationalizability. F-consistency is a testable property that highlights the behavioral aspects implicit in sequentially rationalizable choice. Further, our characterization result provides a novel tool with which to study how other behavioral concepts are related to sequential rationalizability, and establish a priori unexpected implications. In particular, we show that the concept of rationalizability by game trees, which, in principle, had little to do with sequential rationalizability, is a refinement of the latter. Every choice function that is rationalizable by a game tree is also sequentially rationalizable. Finally, we show that some prominent voting mechanisms are also sequentially rationalizable.

Suggested Citation

  • Jose Apesteguia & Miguel Angel Ballester, 2008. "A Characterization of Sequential Rationalizability," Working Papers 345, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:345

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2007. "Sequentially Rationalizable Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1824-1839, December.
    2. Dutta, Bhaskar & Jackson, Matthew O. & Le Breton, Michel, 2002. "Voting by Successive Elimination and Strategic Candidacy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 190-218, March.
    3. Rubinstein, Ariel & Salant, Yuval, 2006. "A model of choice from lists," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(1), pages 3-17, March.
    4. Xu, Yongsheng & Zhou, Lin, 2007. "Rationalizability of choice functions by game trees," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 548-556, May.
    5. Gil Kalai & Ariel Rubinstein & Ran Spiegler, 2002. "Rationalizing Choice Functions By Multiple Rationales," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2481-2488, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Xu, Yongsheng & Yoshihara, Naoki, 2011. "Proportional Nash solutions - A new and procedural analysis of nonconvex bargaining problems," CCES Discussion Paper Series 42, Center for Research on Contemporary Economic Systems, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.

    More about this item


    individual rationality; Rationalizability; consistency; bounded rationality; behavioral economics; Voting.;

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:345. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bruno Guallar). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.