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Revealed preference theory for finite choice sets

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  • Sam COSAERT
  • Thomas DEMUYNCK

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sam COSAERT & Thomas DEMUYNCK, 2013. "Revealed preference theory for finite choice sets," Working Papers Department of Economics ces13.08, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces13.08
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    Cited by:

    1. Polisson, Matthew & Renou, Ludovic, 2016. "Afriat’s Theorem and Samuelson’s ‘Eternal Darkness’," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 36-40.
    2. Grégory Jolivet & Hélène Turon, 2014. "Consumer Search Costs and Preferences on the Internet," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 14/647, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    3. Forges, Françoise & Iehlé, Vincent, 2014. "Afriat’s theorem for indivisible goods," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 1-6.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00870052 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. John Quah & Hiroki Nishimura & Efe A. Ok, 2013. "A Unified Approach to Revealed Preference Theory: The Case of Rational Choice," Economics Series Working Papers 686, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C18 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Methodolical Issues: General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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