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A Model of Non-Informational Preference Change

  • Dietrich Franz
  • List Christian

    (METEOR)

According to standard rational choice theory, as commonly used in political science and economics, an agent''s fundamental preferences are exogenously fixed, and any preference change over decision options is due to Bayesian information learning. Although elegant and parsimonious, this model fails to account for preference change driven by experiences or psychological changes distinct from information learning. We develop a model of non-informational preference change.Alternatives are modelled as points in some multidimensional space, only some of whose dimensions play a role in shaping the agent''s preferences.Any change in these `motivationally salient'' dimensions can change the agent''s preferences. How it does so is described by a new representation theorem. Our model not only captures a wide range of frequently observed phenomena, but also generalizes some standard representations of preferences in political science and economics.

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Paper provided by Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR) in its series Research Memorandum with number 015.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:unm:umamet:2009015
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  1. Gerard Debreu, 1959. "Topological Methods in Cardinal Utility Theory," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 76, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Fehr, Ernst & Gachter, Simon, 1998. "Reciprocity and economics: The economic implications of Homo Reciprocans1," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 845-859, May.
  3. Dryzek, John S., 1992. "How Far is it from Virginia and Rochester to Frankfurt? Public Choice as Critical Theory," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(04), pages 397-417, October.
  4. Matthew Rabin, 1998. "Psychology and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 11-46, March.
  5. Rajiv Sethi & E. Somanathan, 1999. "Preference Evolution and Reciprocity," Game Theory and Information 9903001, EconWPA, revised 12 Mar 1999.
  6. Dietrich Franz, 2008. "Modelling change in individual characteristics: an axiomatic framework," Research Memorandum 045, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  7. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
  8. R. H. Strotz, 1955. "Myopia and Inconsistency in Dynamic Utility Maximization," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 165-180.
  9. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
  10. Peter J. Hammond, 1976. "Changing Tastes and Coherent Dynamic Choice," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(1), pages 159-173.
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