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On the Structure of Choice Under Different External References


  • Wulf Gaertner
  • Yongsheng Xu,


In this paper we fully characterize an individual's choice behaviour according to three different so-called external references. The first system which we describe axiomatically is standard utility maximization or preference optimization. The second approach characterizes the choice of the second largest element as an optimal choice, the third system is the choice of a medium element, also as a first best choice. For all three approaches, we have established a common axiomatic structure which allows us to point out rather precisely congruences and divergences among the different systems considered.
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Suggested Citation

  • Wulf Gaertner & Yongsheng Xu,, "undated". "On the Structure of Choice Under Different External References," Discussion Papers 97/19, University of Nottingham, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:not:notecp:97/19

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. K. K. Lancaster, 2010. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1385, David K. Levine.
    2. Prasanta Pattanaik & Yongsheng Xu, 1998. "On Preference and Freedom," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 173-198, April.
    3. Puppe, Clemens, 1996. "An Axiomatic Approach to "Preference for Freedom of Choice"," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 174-199, January.
    4. Bossert Walter & Pattanaik Prasanta K. & Xu Yongsheng, 1994. "Ranking Opportunity Sets: An Axiomatic Approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 326-345, August.
    5. Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132-132.
    6. Dutta, Bhaskar & Sen, Arunava, 1996. "Ranking Opportunity Sets and Arrow Impossibility Theorems: Correspondence Results," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 90-101, October.
    7. Jones, Peter & Sugden, Robert, 1982. "Evaluating choice," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 47-65, June.
    8. Sen, Amartya, 1991. "Welfare, preference and freedom," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 15-29, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Walter Bossert & Kotaro Suzumura, 2011. "Rationality, external norms, and the epistemic value of menus," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 37(4), pages 729-741, October.
    2. Antoinette Baujard, 2006. "L'estimation des préférences individuelles en vue de la décision publique.. Problèmes, paradoxes, enjeux," Economie & Prévision, La Documentation Française, vol. 0(4), pages 51-63.
    3. Andreas Tutić, 2015. "Revealed norm obedience," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 44(2), pages 301-318, February.
    4. Manzini, Paola & Mariotti, Marco, 2004. "Rationalizing Boundedly Rational Choice: Sequential Rationalizability and Rational Shortlist Methods," IZA Discussion Papers 1239, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Ritxar Arlegi, 2001. "Rational Evaluation of Actions Under Complete Uncertainty," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 0114, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.
    6. Antoinette Baujard, 2006. "Une critique opérationnelle du welfarisme dans la prise de décision publique," Post-Print halshs-00155130, HAL.
    7. Lanzi, Diego, 2011. "Frames as choice superstructures," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 115-123, April.
    8. Andrew McKay & Oliver Morrissey & Charlotte Vaillant, "undated". "Aggregate Export and Food Crop Supply Response in Tanzania," Discussion Papers 98/4, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    9. Anand, Paul & Krishnakumar, Jaya & Tran, Ngoc Bich, 2011. "Measuring welfare: Latent variable models for happiness and capabilities in the presence of unobservable heterogeneity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 205-215.
    10. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2004. "Rationalizing Boundedly Rational Choice," Microeconomics 0407005, EconWPA, revised 21 Dec 2005.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations


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