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Flexibility of Choice versus Reduction of Ambiguity


  • Guerdjikova, Ani

    (Cornell U)

  • Zimper, Alexander

    (U of Cape Town)


This paper explores the problem of a social planner willing to improve the welfare of individuals who are unable to compare all available alternatives. The optimal decision trades off the individuals' desire for flexibility versus their aversion towards ambiguous choice situations. We introduce an axiom system that formalizes this idea. Our main result characterizes the preference maximizing opportunity set. It is a maximal set that consists of mutually comparable alternatives. It also has the property that it maximizes the sum of the distances between its ordered elements for some appropriate metric imposed on the set of possible choices.

Suggested Citation

  • Guerdjikova, Ani & Zimper, Alexander, 2006. "Flexibility of Choice versus Reduction of Ambiguity," Working Papers 06-14, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:06-14

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ludwig, Alexander & Zimper, Alexander, 2006. "Investment behavior under ambiguity: The case of pessimistic decision makers," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 111-130, September.
    2. Eric Danan & Anthony Ziegelmeyer, 2004. "Are preferences incomplete? An experimental study using flexible choices," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2004-23, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    3. Eddie Dekel & Barton L. Lipman & Aldo Rustichini, 2009. "Temptation-Driven Preferences," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 937-971.
    4. Klaus Nehring, 1999. "Preference for Flexibility in a Savage Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 101-120, January.
    5. Dekel, Eddie & Lipman, Barton L & Rustichini, Aldo, 2001. "Representing Preferences with a Unique Subjective State Space," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 891-934, July.
    6. Karni, Edi & Safra, Zvi, 1990. "Behaviorally consistent optimal stopping rules," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 391-402, August.
    7. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2004. "Self-Control and the Theory of Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 119-158, January.
    8. Gilboa, Itzhak, 1987. "Expected utility with purely subjective non-additive probabilities," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 65-88, February.
    9. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    2. Eric Danan & Ani Guerdjikova & Alexander Zimper, 2012. "Indecisiveness aversion and preference for commitment," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 72(1), pages 1-13, January.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D69 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Other
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty


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