IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Justifiable choice


  • Heller, Yuval


In many situations a decision maker has incomplete psychological preferences, and the weak axiom of revealed preference (WARP) is often violated. In this paper we relax WARP, and replace it with convex axiom of revealed non-inferiority (CARNI). An alternative x is revealed inferior to y if x is never chosen when y is in the convex hull of the choice set. CARNI requires that an alternative is chosen if it is not inferior to all other alternatives in the convex hull of the choice set. We apply CARNI in two models and axiomatize non-binary choice correspondences. In the first model we impose the standard axioms of expected utility model, except that WARP is replaced by CARNI. We prove that it has a multiple-utility representation: There is a unique convex set of vN-M utilities, such that an alternative is chosen if and only if it is best with respect to one of the utilities in this set. In the second model we impose the axioms of the subjective expected utility, relax WARP in a similar way, and get multiple-prior representation: There is a unique convex set of priors over the state of nature, such that an alternative is chosen if and only if it is best with respect to one of these priors. Both representations are closely-related to psychological insights of justifiable choice: The decision maker has several ways to evaluate acts, each with a different justification. Observable payoff-irrelevant information during the choice triggers her to use a specific “anchoring” justification for the evaluation of the alternatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Heller, Yuval, 2009. "Justifiable choice," MPRA Paper 15645, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:15645

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    File Function: revised version
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    File Function: revised version
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    File Function: revised version
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rubinstein Ariel & Wolinsky Asher, 1994. "Rationalizable Conjectural Equilibrium: Between Nash and Rationalizability," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 299-311, March.
    2. John E. Roemer, 1999. "The Democratic Political Economy of Progressive Income Taxation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 1-20, January.
    3. Kim, Taesung & Richter, Marcel K., 1986. "Nontransitive-nontotal consumer theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 324-363, April.
    4. Dubra, Juan & Maccheroni, Fabio & Ok, Efe A., 2004. "Expected utility theory without the completeness axiom," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 118-133, March.
    5. R. Duncan Luce & Detlof von Winterfeldt, 1994. "What Common Ground Exists for Descriptive, Prescriptive, and Normative Utility Theories?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(2), pages 263-279, February.
    6. Gil Kalai & Ariel Rubinstein & Ran Spiegler, 2002. "Rationalizing Choice Functions By Multiple Rationales," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2481-2488, November.
    7. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K, 1993. "Self-Confirming Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 523-545, May.
    8. Luca Rigotti & Chris Shannon, 2005. "Uncertainty and Risk in Financial Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 203-243, January.
    9. Gilboa,Itzhak & Schmeidler,David, 2001. "A Theory of Case-Based Decisions," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521802345, March.
    10. de Clippel, Geoffroy & Eliaz, Kfir, 2012. "Reason-based choice: a bargaining rationale for the attraction and compromise effects," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 7(1), January.
    11. Ghirardato, Paolo & Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo, 2004. "Differentiating ambiguity and ambiguity attitude," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 133-173, October.
    12. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
    13. Lehrer, Ehud & Teper, Roee, 2011. "Justifiable preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 762-774, March.
    14. Amartya K. Sen, 1971. "Choice Functions and Revealed Preference," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(3), pages 307-317.
    15. Deb, Rajat, 1983. "Binariness and rational choice," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 97-105, August.
    16. Itzhak Gilboa & Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & David Schmeidler, 2010. "Objective and Subjective Rationality in a Multiple Prior Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(2), pages 755-770, March.
    17. Peter Klibanoff & Massimo Marinacci & Sujoy Mukerji, 2005. "A Smooth Model of Decision Making under Ambiguity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1849-1892, November.
    18. Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & Aldo Rustichini, 2006. "Ambiguity Aversion, Robustness, and the Variational Representation of Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1447-1498, November.
    19. Mandler, Michael, 2005. "Incomplete preferences and rational intransitivity of choice," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 255-277, February.
    20. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2007. "Sequentially Rationalizable Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1824-1839, December.
    21. Fishburn, Peter C, 1991. "Nontransitive Preferences in Decision Theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 113-134, April.
    22. Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 571-587, May.
    23. Kalai, Ehud & Lehrer, Ehud, 1993. "Subjective Equilibrium in Repeated Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1231-1240, September.
    24. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2009. "Beyond Revealed Preference: Choice-Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 51-104.
    25. Fishburn, Peter C, 1970. "Intransitive Individual Indifference and Transitive Majorities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(3), pages 482-489, May.
    26. Heath, Chip & Tversky, Amos, 1991. "Preference and Belief: Ambiguity and Competence in Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 5-28, January.
    27. Klaus Nehring, 1997. "Rational choice and revealed preference without binariness," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 14(3), pages 403-425.
    28. Eliaz, Kfir & Ok, Efe A., 2006. "Indifference or indecisiveness? Choice-theoretic foundations of incomplete preferences," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 61-86, July.
    29. Amos Tversky & Itamar Simonson, 1993. "Context-Dependent Preferences," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(10), pages 1179-1189, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Evren, Özgür, 2014. "Scalarization methods and expected multi-utility representations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 30-63.
    2. McCarthy, David & Mikkola, Kalle & Thomas, Teruji, 2017. "Representation of strongly independent preorders by sets of scalar-valued functions," MPRA Paper 79284, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    uncertainty; multiple priors; multiple utilities; incomplete preferences; anchoring; framing; non-binary choice.;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

    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:pra:mprapa:15645. 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: (Joachim Winter). 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.