Where do preferences come from?
Rational choice theory analyzes how an agent can rationally act, given his or her preferences, but says little about where those preferences come from. Instead, pref- erences are usually assumed to be �xed and exogenously given. Building on related work on reasons and rational choice (Dietrich and List forthcoming), we describe a framework for conceptualizing preference formation and preference change. In our model, an agent's preferences are based on certain motivationally salientproperties of the alternatives over which the preferences are held. Preferences may change as new properties of the alternatives become salient or previously salient ones cease to be so. We suggest that our approach captures endogenous preferences in various contexts, and helps to illuminate the distinction between formal and substantive concepts of rationality, as well as the role of perception in rational choice.
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