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Bounded Rationality and Socially Optimal Limits on Choice in a Self-Selection Model

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  • Eytan Sheshinski

Abstract

When individuals choose from whatever alternatives available to them the one that maximizes their utility then it is always desirable that the government provide them with as many alternatives as possible. Individuals, however, do not always choose what is best for them and their mistakes may be exacerbated by the availability of options. We analyze self-selection models, when individuals know more about themselves than it is possible for governments to know, and show that it may be socially optimal to limit and sometimes to eliminate individual choice. As an example, we apply Luce’s (1959) model of random choice to a work-retirement decision model and show that the optimal provision of choice is positively related to the degree of heterogeneity in the population and that even with very small degrees of non-rationality it may be optimal not to provide individuals any choice.

Suggested Citation

  • Eytan Sheshinski, 2003. "Bounded Rationality and Socially Optimal Limits on Choice in a Self-Selection Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 868, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_868
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mirrlees, James A., 1987. "Economic Policy and Nonrational Behavior," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt9tw447ws, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    2. Diamond, P. A. & Mirrlees, J. A., 1978. "A model of social insurance with variable retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 295-336, December.
    3. Diamond, Peter & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1995. "Economic aspects of optimal disability benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 1-23, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ravi Kanbur & Jukka Pirttilä & Matti Tuomala, 2006. "Non-Welfarist Optimal Taxation And Behavioural Public Economics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(5), pages 849-868, December.
    2. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 2006. "Optimal sin taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1825-1849, November.
    3. Gil S Epstein, 2012. "Employer’s information and promotion-seeking activities," Economics and Business Letters, Oviedo University Press, vol. 1(4), pages 21-32.
    4. Tyson, Christopher J., 2008. "Cognitive constraints, contraction consistency, and the satisficing criterion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 138(1), pages 51-70, January.
    5. Gilles Saint-Paul, 2012. "Liberté et société post-utilitariste," Revue française d'économie, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(2), pages 3-18.
    6. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-1177, September.
    7. Epstein, Gil S. & Gang, Ira N., 2002. "Government and Cities: Contests and the Decentralization of Decision Making," IZA Discussion Papers 547, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Gilles Saint-Paul, 2012. "Liberté et société post-utilitariste," Working Papers halshs-00732424, HAL.
    9. Manuel Amador & Iván Werning & George-Marios Angeletos, 2006. "Commitment vs. Flexibility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(2), pages 365-396, March.
    10. 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 13 Sep 2006.
    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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    logit; self-selection; moral-hazard; retirement;

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General

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