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Satisficing and Stochastic Choice


  • Victor Aguiar
  • Maria Jose Boccardi
  • Mark Dean


Satisficing is a hugely influential model of boundedly rational choice, yet it cannot be easily tested using standard choice data. We develop necessary and sufficient conditions for stochastic choice data to be consistent with satisficing, assuming that preferences are fixed, but search order may change randomly. The model predicts that stochastic choice can only occur amongst elements that are always chosen, while all other choices must be consistent with standard utility maximization. Adding the assumption that the probability distribution over search orders is the same for all choice sets makes the satisficing model a subset of the class of random utility models.
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Suggested Citation

  • Victor Aguiar & Maria Jose Boccardi & Mark Dean, 2015. "Satisficing and Stochastic Choice," Working Papers 2015-8, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2015-8

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Herbert A. Simon, 1955. "A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 99-118.
    2. Elena Reutskaja & Rosemarie Nagel & Colin F. Camerer & Antonio Rangel, 2011. "Search Dynamics in Consumer Choice under Time Pressure: An Eye-Tracking Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 900-926, April.
    3. Yusufcan Masatlioglu & Daisuke Nakajima & Erkut Y. Ozbay, 2012. "Revealed Attention," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2183-2205, August.
    4. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2014. "Stochastic Choice and Consideration Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(3), pages 1153-1176, May.
    5. Andrew Caplin & Mark Dean & Daniel Martin, 2011. "Search and Satisficing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 2899-2922, December.
    6. Rubinstein, Ariel & Salant, Yuval, 2006. "A model of choice from lists," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(1), pages 3-17, March.
    7. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2006. "Random Expected Utility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 121-146, January.
    8. Caplin, Andrew & Dean, Mark, 2011. "Search, choice, and revealed preference," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 6(1), January.
    9. Kfir Eliaz & Ran Spiegler, 2011. "Consideration Sets and Competitive Marketing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(1), pages 235-262.
    10. Morgan McClellon, 2015. "Unique Random Utility Representations," Working Paper 262661, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    11. Yuval Salant & Ariel Rubinstein, 2008. "(A, f): Choice with Frames -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1287-1296.
    12. Babur De Los Santos & Ali Hortacsu & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2012. "Testing Models of Consumer Search Using Data on Web Browsing and Purchasing Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2955-2980, October.
    13. Faruk Gul & Paulo Natenzon & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2014. "Random Choice as Behavioral Optimization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82, pages 1873-1912, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Manzini, Paola & Mariotti, Marco & Ülkü, Levent, 2018. "Stochastic Complementarity," IZA Discussion Papers 11296, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Matias D. Cattaneo & Xinwei Ma & Yusufcan Masatlioglu & Elchin Suleymanov, 2017. "A Random Attention Model," Papers 1712.03448,

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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