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Reason-Based Choice: A Bargaining Rationale for the Attraction and Compromise Effects

Among the most important and robust violations of rationality are the attraction and the compromise effects. The compromise effect refers to the tendency of individuals to choose an intermediate option in a choice set, while the attraction effect refers to the tendency to choose an option that dominates some other options in the choice set. This paper argues that both effects may result from an individual’s attempt to overcome the difficulty of making a choice in the absence of a single criterion for ranking the options. Moreover, we propose to view the resolution of this choice problem as a cooperative solution to an intra-personal bargaining problem among different selves of an individual, where each self represents a different criterion for choosing. We first identify a set of properties that characterize those choice correspondences that coincide with our bargaining solution, for some pair of preference relations. Second, we provide a revealed-preference foundation to our bargaining solution and characterize the extent to which these two preference relations can be uniquely identified. Alternatively, our analysis may be reinterpreted as a study of (inter-personal) bilateral bargaining over a finite set of options. In that case, our results provide a new characterization, as well as testable implications, of an ordinal bargaining solution that has been previously discussed in the literature under the various names of fallback bargaining, unanimity compromise, Rawlsian arbitration rule and Kant- Rawls social compromise.

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Paper provided by Brown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2009-4.

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Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2009-4
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

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  1. Green, Jerry & Hojman, Daniel, 2007. "Choice, Rationality and Welfare Measurement," Working Paper Series rwp07-054, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  2. Kfir Eliaz & Ran Spiegler, 2004. "Contracting with Diversely Naïve Agents," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000530, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Attila Ambrus & Kareen Rozen, 2012. "Rationalizing Choice with Multi-Self Models," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000512, David K. Levine.
  4. Chambers, Christopher P. & Echenique, Federico, 2008. "The core matchings of markets with transfers," Working Papers 1298, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  5. Özgür Kıbrıs & Murat Sertel, 2007. "Bargaining over a finite set of alternatives," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 421-437, April.
  6. Nejat Anbarci, 1993. "Noncooperative Foundations of the Area Monotonic Solution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(1), pages 245-258.
  7. Gil Kalai & Ariel Rubinstein & Ran Spiegler, 2001. "Rationalizing Choice Functions by Multiple Rationales," Discussion Paper Series dp278, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  8. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Donni, Olivier, 2006. "Learning from a Piece of Pie: The Empirical Content of Nash Bargaining," IZA Discussion Papers 2128, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Michele Lombardi, 2007. "Reason-Based Choice Correspondences," Working Papers 607, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  10. Kfir Eliaz & Michael Richter & Ariel Rubinstein, 2011. "Choosing the two finalists," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 211-219, February.
  11. Yusufcan Masatlioglu & Daisuke Nakajima & Erkut Y. Ozbay, 2012. "Revealed Attention," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2183-2205, August.
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