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Afriat’s Theorem for General Budget Sets


  • Francoise Forges
  • Enrico Minelli


Afriat (1967) showed the equivalence of the strong axiom of revealed preference and the existence of a solution to a set of linear inequalities. From this solution he constructed a utility function rationalizing the choices of a competitive consumer. We extend Afriat’s theorem to a class of nonlinear budget sets. We thereby obtain testable implications of rational behavior for a wide class of economic environments, and a constructive method to derive individual preferences from observed choices. In an application to market games, we identify a set of observable restrictions characterizing Nash equilibrium outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Francoise Forges & Enrico Minelli, 2006. "Afriat’s Theorem for General Budget Sets," CESifo Working Paper Series 1703, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1703

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-973, July.
    2. A. Fostel & H. Scarf & M. Todd, 2004. "Two new proofs of Afriat’s theorem," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 24(1), pages 211-219, July.
    3. Andreu Mas-Colell, 1978. "On Revealed Preference Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(1), pages 121-131.
    4. Jean-Paul Chavas & Thomas L. Cox, 1993. "On Generalized Revealed Preference Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 493-506.
    5. Mas-Colell, Andreu, 1977. "The Recoverability of Consumers' Preferences from Market Demand Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(6), pages 1409-1430, September.
    6. Sprumont, Yves, 2000. "On the Testable Implications of Collective Choice Theories," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 205-232, August.
    7. Matzkin, Rosa L, 1991. "Axioms of Revealed Preference for Nonlinear Choice Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1779-1786, November.
    8. Shapley, Lloyd S & Shubik, Martin, 1977. "Trade Using One Commodity as a Means of Payment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(5), pages 937-968, October.
    9. Dubey, Pradeep & Sahi, Siddhartha, 2003. "Price-mediated trade with quantity signals: an axiomatic approach," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(5-6), pages 377-389, July.
    10. W. E. Diewert, 1973. "Afriat and Revealed Preference Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(3), pages 419-425.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cherchye, Laurens & De Rock, Bram & Vermeulen, Frederic, 2010. "An Afriat Theorem for the collective model of household consumption," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 1142-1163, May.
    2. Ennio Bilancini, 2011. "On the rationalizability of observed consumers’ choices when preferences depend on budget sets and (potentially) on anything else," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 102(3), pages 275-286, April.
    3. Green, Jerry & Hojman, Daniel, 2007. "Choice, Rationality and Welfare Measurement," Working Paper Series rwp07-054, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Kalandrakis, Tasos, 2010. "Rationalizable voting," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5(1), January.
    5. Amedeo Fossati & Rosella Levaggi, 2008. "Delay is not the answer: waiting time in health care & income redistribution," Working Papers 0801, University of Brescia, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    GARP; rational choice; revealed preferences; market games; SARP; WARP;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection

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