Garp for kids: On the development of rational choice behavior
In this paper we examine the extent to which consumption choices by 7 and 11-year-old children and college undergraduates satisfy the axioms of revealed preference. We find that choices by even the 7-year-olds are considerably more likely to obey revealed preference axioms than would be true if they were choosing randomly. 11-year-olds do better still, while college students do no better than 11-year-old children. We also find that mathematical ability is not correlated with choosing rationally. We argue that this evidence suggests that the ability to choose rationally is not innate, but that it does develop quickly.
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