IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Revealed preference theory for finite choice sets

  • Thomas DEMUYNCK

The theory of revealed preferences offers an elegant way to test the neoclassical model of utility maximization subject to a linear budget constraint. In many settings, however, the set of available consumption bundles does not take the form of a linear budget set. In this paper, we adjust the theory of revealed preferences to handle situations where the set of feasible bundles is finite. Such situations occur frequently in many real life and experimental settings. We derive the revealed preference conditions for consistency with utility maximization in this finite choice-set setting. Interestingly, we find that it is necessary to make a distinction between the cases where the underlying utility function is weakly monotone, strongly monotone and/or concave. Next, we provide conditions on the structure of the finite choice sets for which the usual revealed preference condition (i.e. GARP) is still valid. We illustrate the relevance of our results by means of an application based on two experimental data sets that contain choice behavior from children.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën in its series Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers with number ces13.08.

in new window

Date of creation: Apr 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces13.08
Contact details of provider: Postal: Naamsestraat 69, 3000 Leuven
Phone: +32-(0)16-32 67 25
Fax: +32-(0)16-32 67 96
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Ian Crawford, 1997. "Non-parametric Engel curves and revealed preferences," IFS Working Papers W97/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Philippe Février & Michael Visser, 2004. "A Study of Consumer Behavior Using Laboratory Data," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 93-114, February.
  3. Varian, Hal R., 1990. "Goodness-of-fit in optimizing models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1-2), pages 125-140.
  4. Francoise Forges & Enrico Minelli, 2006. "Afriat's Theorem for General Budget Sets," Working Papers ubs0609, University of Brescia, Department of Economics.
  5. 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.
  6. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521747387.
  7. Laurens Cherchye & Thomas Demuynck & Bram De Rock, 2011. "Testable implications of general equilibrium models: An integer programming approach," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/131708, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. Hal R. Varian, 1983. "Non-parametric Tests of Consumer Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(1), pages 99-110.
  9. Richard Blundell & Joel Horowitz & Matthias Parey, 2013. "Nonparametric estimation of a heterogeneous demand function under the Slutsky inequality restriction," CeMMAP working papers CWP54/13, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Laurens CHERCHYE & Thomas DEMUYNCK & Bram DE ROCK, 2011. "Nash bargained consumption decisions: a revealed preference analysis," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces11.07, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
  11. Hoderlein, Stefan, 2011. "How many consumers are rational?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 164(2), pages 294-309, October.
  12. Syngjoo Choi & Shachar Kariv & Wieland Müller & Dan Silverman, 2011. "Who Is (More) Rational?," NBER Working Papers 16791, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Stefan Hoderlein & Jörg Stoye, 2009. "Revealed Preferences in a Heterogeneous Population," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 745, Boston College Department of Economics.
  14. Echenique, Federico & Ivanov, Lozan, 2011. "Implications of Pareto efficiency for two-agent (household) choice," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 129-136, March.
  15. Laurens Cherchye & Bram De Rock & Vincenzo Platino, 2013. "Private versus public consumption within groups: testing the nature of goods from aggregate data," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/131703, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  16. Richard Blundell & Dennis Kristensen & Rosa Matzkin, 2011. "Bounding quantile demand functions using revealed preference inequalities," CeMMAP working papers CWP21/11, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  17. Laurens CHERCHYE & Thomas DEMUYNCK & Bram DE ROCK, 2012. "Revealed preference analysis for convex rationalizations on nonlinear budget sets," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces12.15, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
  18. Yatchew, Adonis John, 1985. "A note on non-parametric tests of consumer behaviour," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 45-48.
  19. Laura Blow & Martin Browning & Ian Crawford, 2005. "Revealed preference analysis of characteristics models," CAM Working Papers 2005-04, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  20. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-73, July.
  21. M.J. Todd & A. Fostel & H.E. Scarf, 2004. "Two New Proofs of Afriat's Theorem," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 632, Econometric Society.
  22. 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.
  23. Matzkin, Rosa L, 1991. "Axioms of Revealed Preference for Nonlinear Choice Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1779-86, November.
  24. Sabrina Bruyneel & Laurens Cherchye & Bram De Rock, 2012. "Collective consumption models with restricted bargaining weights: an empirical assessment based on experimental data," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 395-421, September.
  25. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Ian Crawford, 2005. "Best nonparametric bounds on demand responses," CeMMAP working papers CWP12/05, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  26. Sam Cosaert & Thomas Demuynck, 2015. "Revealed preference theory for finite choice sets," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 59(1), pages 169-200, May.
  27. 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.
  28. Matthew Polisson & John Quah, 2012. "Revealed Preference in a Discrete Consumption Space," Discussion Papers in Economics 12/02, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, revised Feb 2012.
  29. Selten,Reinhard, . "Properties of a measure of predictive succes," Discussion Paper Serie B 130, University of Bonn, Germany.
  30. Francoise Forges & Enrico Minelli, 2009. "Afriat's theorem for generalized budget sets," Post-Print hal-00360726, HAL.
  31. Cox, James C, 1997. "On Testing the Utility Hypothesis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1054-78, July.
  32. Douglas M. Gale & Shachar Kariv & Syngjoo Choi & Raymond Fisman, 2007. "Revealing Preferences Graphically: An Old Method Gets a New Tool Kit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 153-158, May.
  33. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
  34. Daniel Burghart & Paul Glimcher & Stephanie Lazzaro, 2013. "An expected utility maximizer walks into a bar..," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 215-246, June.
  35. Ray Fisman & Shachar Kariv & Daniel Markovits, 2006. "Individual Preferences for Giving," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000468, UCLA Department of Economics.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces13.08. 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: (Karla Vander Weyden)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.