IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Consumer Choice Theory and Social Learning


  • Anaïs Carlin

    (University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France


In this paper we formalize learning as a determinant of individual choice. We model economic agent as an individual who makes her choice according to a specific set of experiences, which evolves over time as the agent learns from both her personal history and her social environment. We link preferences to choices through the notion of hierarchy of wants. We present an axiomatic characterization, inspired by Georgescu-Roegen (1950, 1954), of the individual choice mechanism in a social environment. Following these axioms, we show that an agent may change her choice from one period to another and remain nonetheless rational. The learning mechanism allows for the modification of individual preference ordering over time as well as it implies irreversibility, in the sense that economic changes leave a mark in the decision making process.

Suggested Citation

  • Anaïs Carlin, 2014. "Consumer Choice Theory and Social Learning," GREDEG Working Papers 2014-13, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:gre:wpaper:2014-13

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2014
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alan Kirman & Miriam Teschl, 2006. "Searching for identity in the capability space," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 299-325.
    2. Franz Dietrich & Christian List, 2013. "Where do preferences come from?," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 42(3), pages 613-637, August.
    3. Cynamon Barry Z. & Fazzari Steven M., 2008. "Household Debt in the Consumer Age: Source of Growth--Risk of Collapse," Capitalism and Society, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 1-32, October.
    4. Gowdy, John M. & Mayumi, Kozo, 2001. "Reformulating the foundations of consumer choice theory and environmental valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 223-237, November.
    5. George A. Akerlof, 2007. "The Missing Motivation in Macroeconomics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 5-36, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Preference formation; preference change; learning; path dependency;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:gre:wpaper:2014-13. 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: (Patrice Bougette). General contact details of provider: .

    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.