IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ehl/lserod/27001.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Random behavior and the as-if defense of rational choice theory in demand experiments

Author

Listed:
  • Moscati, Ivan
  • Tubaro, Paola

Abstract

Rational choice theory (RCT) models decision makers as utility maximizers and is often defended via an as-if argument. According to this argument, although real individuals do not consciously maximize their utility function, their choices can be explained as if they were generated by utility maximization. An alternative model is random-choice, which assumes that decision makers pick up an element from a given set according to a uniform distribution on the set. In this paper we examine a series of experiments that compare RCT and the random-choice model as alternative explanations of consumer demand, and investigate how these experiments contribute to clarifying the actual scope of RCT and the shortcomings of the standard as-if defense of it.

Suggested Citation

  • Moscati, Ivan & Tubaro, Paola, 2009. "Random behavior and the as-if defense of rational choice theory in demand experiments," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 27001, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:27001
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/27001/
    File Function: Open access version.
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-973, July.
    2. Philippe Février & Michael Visser, 2004. "A Study of Consumer Behavior Using Laboratory Data," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 7(1), pages 93-114, February.
    3. John F. Chant, 1963. "Irrational Behavior and Economic Theory: A Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 71, pages 505-505.
    4. Afriat, Sidney N, 1972. "Efficiency Estimation of Production Function," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(3), pages 568-598, October.
    5. Paola Tubaro, 2009. "Is individual rationality essential to market price formation? The contribution of zero-intelligence agent trading models," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 1-19.
    6. Moscati, Ivan, 2006. "Epistemic virtues and theory choice in economics," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58429, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
    8. Cox, James C, 1997. "On Testing the Utility Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1054-1078, July.
    9. Mattei, Aurelio, 2000. "Full-scale real tests of consumer behavior using experimental data," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 487-497, December.
    10. Tesfatsion, Leigh, 2006. "Agent-Based Computational Economics: A Constructive Approach to Economic Theory," Handbook of Computational Economics, in: Leigh Tesfatsion & Kenneth L. Judd (ed.), Handbook of Computational Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 16, pages 831-880, Elsevier.
    11. Tversky, Amos & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Anomalies: Preference Reversals," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 201-211, Spring.
    12. Varian, H.R., 1991. "Goodness of Fit for Revealed Preference Tests," Papers 13, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
    13. Sippel, Reinhard, 1997. "An Experiment on the Pure Theory of Consumer's Behaviour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1431-1444, September.
    14. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Matej Opatrny, 2018. "Extent of Irrationality of the Consumer: Combining the Critical Cost Eciency and Houtman Maks Indices," Working Papers IES 2018/11, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Apr 2018.
    2. Jim Engle-Warnick & Natalia Mishagina, 2014. "Insensitivity to Prices in a Dictator Game," CIRANO Working Papers 2014s-19, CIRANO.
    3. James Andreoni & William Harbaugh, 2005. "Power Indicies for Revealed Preference Tests," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000181, UCLA Department of Economics.
    4. van Bruggen, Paul & Heufer, Jan, 2017. "Afriat in the lab," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 546-550.
    5. Paul Oslington, 2012. "General Equilibrium: Theory and Evidence," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(282), pages 446-448, September.
    6. Heufer, Jan, 2014. "Nonparametric comparative revealed risk aversion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 569-616.
    7. Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D. & Combs, T. Dalton & Kodaverdian, Niree, 2019. "Consistency in simple vs. complex choices by younger and older adults," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 580-601.
    8. W D A Bryant, 2009. "General Equilibrium:Theory and Evidence," World Scientific Books, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., number 6875, February.
    9. Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D & Combs, T. Dalton & Kodaverdian, Niree, 2015. "Consistency in Simple vs. Complex Choices over the Life Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 10457, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Wang, Jian & Iversen, Tor & Hennig-Schmidt, Heike & Godager, Geir, 2020. "Are patient-regarding preferences stable? Evidence from a laboratory experiment with physicians and medical students from different countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 125(C).
    11. Sam Cosaert & Thomas Demuynck, 2015. "Revealed preference theory for finite choice sets," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 59(1), pages 169-200, May.
    12. Cox, James C., 2010. "Some issues of methods, theories, and experimental designs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 24-28, January.
    13. E. Cettolin & P. S. Dalton & W. J. Kop & W. Zhang, 2020. "Cortisol meets GARP: the effect of stress on economic rationality," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(2), pages 554-574, June.
    14. Ray Fisman & Shachar Kariv & Daniel Markovits, 2006. "Individual Preferences for Giving," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000468, UCLA Department of Economics.
    15. Sabrina Bruyneel & Laurens Cherchye & Sam Cosaert & Bram De Rock & Siegfried Dewitte, 2012. "Are the Smart Kids More Rational ?," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2012-050, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    16. Marc-Arthur Diaye & François Gardes & Christophe Starzec, 2010. "GARP violation, Economic Environment Distortions and Shadow Prices: Evidence from Household Expenditure Panel Data," Post-Print halshs-00449463, HAL.
    17. Marc-Arthur Diaye & Michal Wong-Urdanivia, 2005. "A simple test of Richter-rationality," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00084390, HAL.
    18. Raymond Fisman & Shachar Kariv & Daniel Markovits, 2007. "Individual Preferences for Giving," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1858-1876, December.
    19. Samiran Banerjee & James Murphy, 2011. "Do rational demand functions differ from irrational ones? Evidence from an induced budget experiment," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(26), pages 3863-3882.
    20. Marc-Arthur Diaye & François Gardes & Christophe Starzec, 2009. "GARP violation, Economic Environment Distortions and Shadow Prices : Evidence from Household Expenditure Panel Data," Post-Print halshs-00376747, HAL.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:27001. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (LSERO Manager). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/lsepsuk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.