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An Experiment on the Pure Theory of Consumer's Behaviour

  • Reinhard Sippel
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    By checking whether consumer demand satis es the axioms of revealed preference, one can test the empirical validity of the neoclassical theory of consumer behaviour. However, applying the axioms to actual consumer purchase data is di cult, if not impossible, since serious problems of both a methodological and practical nature arise. This paper, after commenting on the few previous empirical studies, reports an experimental approach to revealed preference theory. Data were obtained through a controlled experiment that involved real consumption of the goods chosen. We nd that our subjects often violated the axioms.

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    File URL: http://www.wiwi.uni-bonn.de/bgsepapers/bonsfb/bonsfb274.ps
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    Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Discussion Paper Serie B with number 274.

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    Date of creation: Aug 1995
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    Handle: RePEc:bon:bonsfb:274
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany
    Fax: +49 228 73 6884
    Web page: http://www.bgse.uni-bonn.de

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    1. Kagel, John H, et al, 1975. "Experimental Studies of Consumer Demand Behavior Using Laboratory Animals," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(1), pages 22-38, March.
    2. Battalio, Raymond C, et al, 1981. "Commodity-Choice Behavior with Pigeons as Subjects," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(1), pages 67-91, February.
    3. Rosa L. Matzkin & Marcel K. Richter, 1987. "Testing Strictly Concave Rationality," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 844, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. Koo, Anthony Y C & Hasenkamp, Georg, 1972. "Structure of Revealed Preference: Some Preliminary Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(4), pages 724-44, July-Aug..
    5. Hardle, Wolfgang & Hildenbrand, Werner & Jerison, Michael, 1991. "Empirical Evidence on the Law of Demand," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1525-49, November.
    6. Jerison, David & Jerison, Michael, 1993. "Approximately Rational Consumer Demand," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 217-41, April.
    7. Pollak, Robert A, 1990. "Distinguished Fellow: Houthakker's Contributions to Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 141-56, Spring.
    8. Chalfant, James A & Alston, Julian M, 1988. "Accounting for Changes in Tastes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 391-410, April.
    9. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-73, July.
    10. Aurelio Mattei, 1994. "La cohérence des choix des consommateurs suisses," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 130(I), pages 3-20, March.
    11. Sen, Amartya K, 1973. "Behaviour and the Concept of Preference," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 40(159), pages 241-59, August.
    12. Polemarchakis, Heraklis M, 1983. "Expectations, Demand, and Observability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(3), pages 565-74, May.
    13. Knetsch, Jack L., 1992. "Preferences and nonreversibility of indifference curves," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 131-139, January.
    14. Afriat, S N, 1973. "On a System of Inequalities in Demand Analysis: An Extension of the Classical Method," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(2), pages 460-72, June.
    15. MacCrimmon, K R & Toda, M, 1969. "The Experimental Determination of Indifference Curves," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(108), pages 433-51, October.
    16. Mossin, Axel, 1972. "A Mean Demand Function and Individual Demand Functions Confronted with the Weak and the Strong Axioms of Revealed Preference: An Empirical Test," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(1), pages 177-92, January.
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