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Rational Inattention to Discrete Choices: A New Foundation for the Multinomial Logit Model

  • Alisdair McKay

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Boston University)

  • Filip Matejka

    ()

    (Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education, Prague)

Individuals must often choose among discrete alternatives with imperfect informa- tion about their values. Before choosing, they may have an opportunity to study the options, but doing so is costly. This costly information acquisition creates new choices such as the number of and types of questions to ask. We model these situations using the rational inattention approach to information frictions. We nd that the decision maker's optimal strategy results in choosing probabilistically in line with a modi ed multinomial logit model. The modi cation arises because the decision maker's prior knowledge and attention allocation strategy a ect his evaluation of the alternatives. When the options are a priori homogeneous, the standard logit model emerges.

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Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number WP2011-026.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2011-026
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Web page: http://www.bu.edu/econ/

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  1. Luigi Paciello & Mirko Wiederholt, 2011. "Exogenous Information, Endogenous Information and Optimal Monetary Policy," EIEF Working Papers Series 1104, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Jan 2011.
  2. Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Laura Veldkamp, 2008. "Information Acquisition and Under-Diversification," NBER Working Papers 13904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bartosz Mackowiak & Mirko Wiederholt, 2009. "Optimal Sticky Prices under Rational Inattention," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 769-803, June.
  4. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  5. Luo Yulei & Young Eric R, 2009. "Rational Inattention and Aggregate Fluctuations," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-43, April.
  6. Yulei Luo, 2005. "Consumption Dynamics under Information Processing Constraints," Macroeconomics 0505011, EconWPA, revised 03 Jun 2005.
  7. Christopher A. Sims, 2006. "Rational Inattention: Beyond the Linear-Quadratic Case," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 158-163, May.
  8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521766555 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Mondria, Jordi, 2010. "Portfolio choice, attention allocation, and price comovement," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(5), pages 1837-1864, September.
  10. Daniel McFadden, 2001. "Economic Choices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 351-378, June.
  11. Jörgen Weibull & Lars-Göran Mattsson & Mark Voorneveld, 2007. "Better May be Worse: Some Monotonicity Results and Paradoxes in Discrete Choice Under Uncertainty," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 63(2), pages 121-151, September.
  12. Filip Matejka, 2010. "Rigid Pricing and Rationally Inattentive Consumer," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp409, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  13. Filip Matejka, 2010. "Rationally Inattentive Seller: Sales and Discrete Pricing," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp408, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  14. Mackowiak, Bartosz Adam & Wiederholt, Mirko, 2010. "Business Cycle Dynamics under Rational Inattention," CEPR Discussion Papers 7691, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. R. McKelvey & T. Palfrey, 2010. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 510, David K. Levine.
  16. Faruk Gul & Paulo Natenzon & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2014. "Random Choice as Behavioral Optimization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82, pages 1873-1912, 09.
  17. Stahl, D O, 1990. "Entropy Control Costs and Entropic Equilibria," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 129-38.
  18. Mattsson, Lars-Goran & Weibull, Jorgen W., 2002. "Probabilistic choice and procedurally bounded rationality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 61-78, October.
  19. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521747387 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Anas, Alex, 1983. "Discrete choice theory, information theory and the multinomial logit and gravity models," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 13-23, February.
  21. Tutino, Antonella, 2008. "The rigidity of choice: lifetime savings under information-processing constraints," MPRA Paper 16744, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 24 Jul 2009.
  22. Mattsson, Lars-Göran & Voorneveld, Mark & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2004. "Better may be worse: Some monotonicity results and paradoxes in discrete choice," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 558, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 21 Apr 2004.
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