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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. 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.
  2. F. Gul & W. Pesendorfer, 2002. "Random Expected Utility," Princeton Economic Theory Working Papers 497768e9b9fc18361ac0810b3, David K. Levine.
  3. Walter Bossert & Yves Sprumont & Kotaro Suzumura, 2005. "Consistent Rationalizability," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(286), pages 185-200, 05.
  4. Ariel Rubinstein & Yuval Salant, 2007. "(A,f) Choice with Frames," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000029, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin ., 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Economics Working Papers 97-253, University of California at Berkeley.
  6. Gil Kalai & Ariel Rubinstein & Ran Spiegler, 2001. "Rationalizing Choice Functions by Multiple Rationales," Discussion Paper Series dp278, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2001. "Temptation and Self-Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1403-1435, November.
  10. 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.
  11. Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1997. "Psychological Expected Utility Theory and Anticipatory Feelings," Working Papers 97-37, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  12. Wayne Shafer & Hugo Sonnenschein, 1974. "Equilibrium in Abstract Economies Without Ordered Preferences," Discussion Papers 94, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  13. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Rubinstein, Ariel & Salant, Yuval, 2006. "A model of choice from lists," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(1), pages 3-17, March.
  15. 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.
  16. Green, Jerry & Hojman, Daniel, 2007. "Choice, Rationality and Welfare Measurement," Working Paper Series rwp07-054, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  17. Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, 2003. "Libertarian Paternalism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 175-179, May.
  18. 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.
  19. Luca Rigotti & Chris Shannon=20, 2002. "Uncertainty and Risk in Financial Markets," Game Theory and Information 0201001, EconWPA.
  20. Sen, Amartya K, 1971. "Choice Functions and Revealed Preference," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(115), pages 307-17, July.
  21. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2004. "Rationalizing Boundedly Rational Choice," Microeconomics 0407005, EconWPA, revised 21 Jul 2005.
  22. 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.
  23. Looney, Adam & Kroft, Kory & Chetty, Raj, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," Scholarly Articles 9748525, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  24. Ehlers, Lars & Sprumont, Yves, 2008. "Weakened WARP and top-cycle choice rules," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 87-94, January.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. Jay Bhattacharya & Darius Lakdawalla, 2004. "Time-Inconsistency and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 10345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. 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.
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