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Beyond Revealed Preference Choice Theoretic Foundations for Behavioral Welfare Economics

  • Douglas Bernheim

    ()

    (Tax and Budget Policy Program, Stanford University)

  • Antonio Rangel

    (Department of Economics, Stanford University)

This paper proposes a choice-theoretic framework for evaluating economic welfare with the following features. (1) It is applicable irrespective of the positive model used to describe behavior. (2) It subsumes standard welfare economics both as a special case (when standard choice axioms are satisfied) and as a limiting case (when behavioral anomalies are small). (3) It requires only data on choices. (4) It is easily applied in the context of specific behavioral theories, such as the ß, d model of time inconsistency, for which it has novel normative implications. (5) It generates natural counterparts for the standard tools of applied welfare analysis, including compensating and equivalent variation, consumer surplus, Pareto optimality, and the contract curve, and permits a broad generalization of the first welfare theorem. (6) Though not universally discerning, it lends itself to principled refinements.

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Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 07-031.

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Date of creation: Dec 2007
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Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:07-031
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  1. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2001. "Temptation and Self-Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1403-1435, November.
  2. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and taxation: theory and evidence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
  4. Mas-Colell, Andrew, 1974. "An equilibrium existence theorem without complete or transitive preferences," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 237-246, December.
  5. Jay Bhattacharya & Darius Lakdawalla, 2004. "Time-Inconsistency and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 10345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Rubinstein, Ariel & Salant, Yuval, 2006. "A model of choice from lists," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(1), pages 3-17, March.
  8. Green, Jerry & Hojman, Daniel, 2007. "Choice, Rationality and Welfare Measurement," Working Paper Series rwp07-054, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  9. Ayse Imrohoroglu & Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Douglas H. Joines, 2003. "Time-Inconsistent Preferences And Social Security," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 745-784, May.
  10. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Shafer, Wayne & Sonnenschein, Hugo, 1975. "Equilibrium in abstract economies without ordered preferences," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 345-348, December.
  12. Luca Rigotti & Chris Shannon, 2005. "Uncertainty and Risk in Financial Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(1), pages 203-243, 01.
  13. Walter Bossert & Yves Sprumont & Kotaro Suzumura, 2005. "Consistent Rationalizability," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(286), pages 185-200, 05.
  14. Ariel Rubinstein & Yuval Salant, 2007. "(A,f) Choice with Frames," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000029, UCLA Department of Economics.
  15. Daniel Burghart & Trudy Cameron & Geoffrey Gerdes, 2007. "Valuing publicly sponsored research projects: Risks, scenario adjustments, and inattention," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 77-105, August.
  16. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7t44m5b0, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  17. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2005. "Random Expected Utility," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000834, UCLA Department of Economics.
  18. Robert Sugden, 2004. "The Opportunity Criterion: Consumer Sovereignty Without the Assumption of Coherent Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1014-1033, September.
  19. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2001. "Psychological Expected Utility Theory And Anticipatory Feelings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 55-79, February.
  20. Fon, Vincy & Otani, Yoshihiko, 1979. "Classical welfare theorems with non-transitive and non-complete preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 409-418, June.
  21. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
  22. Gale, D. & Mas-Colell, A., 1975. "An equilibrium existence theorem for a general model without ordered preferences," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 9-15, March.
  23. Ehlers, Lars & Sprumont, Yves, 2008. "Weakened WARP and top-cycle choice rules," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 87-94, January.
  24. Suzumura, Kataro, 1976. "Remarks on the Theory of Collective Choice," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 43(172), pages 381-90, November.
  25. Dan Ariely & George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 2003. ""Coherent Arbitrariness": Stable Demand Curves Without Stable Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 73-105, February.
  26. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2004. "Rationalizing Boundedly Rational Choice," Microeconomics 0407005, EconWPA, revised 21 Jul 2005.
  27. Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, 2003. "Libertarian Paternalism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 175-179, May.
  28. Sen, Amartya K, 1971. "Choice Functions and Revealed Preference," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(115), pages 307-17, July.
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