IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Revealed preference and indifferent selection


  • Eric Danan


It is shown that preferences can be constructed from observed choice behavior in a way that is robust to indifferent selection (i.e., the agent is indifferent between two alternatives but, nevertheless, is only observed selecting one of them). More precisely, a suggestion by Savage (1954) to reveal indifferent selection by considering small monetary perturbations of alternatives is formalized and generalized to a purely topological framework: references over an arbitrary topological space can be uniquely derived from observed behavior under the assumptions that they are continuous and nonsatiated and that a strictly preferred alternative is always chosen, and indifferent selection is then characterized by discontinuity in choice behavior. Two particular cases are then analyzed: monotonic preferences over a partially ordered set, and preferences representable by a continuous pseudo-utility function.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric Danan, 2006. "Revealed preference and indifferent selection," Economics Working Papers 952, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:952

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Whole Paper
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
    2. Subiza, Begona & Peris, Josep E., 1998. "Nontrivial pseudo-utility functions," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 67-73, January.
    3. Amartya K. Sen, 1971. "Choice Functions and Revealed Preference," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(3), pages 307-317.
    4. Mandler, Michael, 2005. "Incomplete preferences and rational intransitivity of choice," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 255-277, February.
    5. Cubitt, Robin P. & Sugden, Robert, 2001. "On Money Pumps," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 121-160, 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. Minardi, Stefania & Savochkin, Andrei, 2015. "Preferences with grades of indecisiveness," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 300-331.
    2. 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.
    3. Kovács, Máté, 2009. "Kinyilvánított preferencia és racionalitás
      [Declared preference and rationality]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(6), pages 546-562.
    4. Eric Danan, 2010. "Randomization vs. Selection: How to Choose in the Absence of Preference?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(3), pages 503-518, March.
    5. Kim Kaivanto & Eike Kroll, 2014. "Alternation bias and reduction in St. Petersburg gambles," Working Papers 65600286, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    6. Faro, José Heleno & Lefort, Jean Philippe, 2013. "Dynamic Objective and Subjective Rationality," Insper Working Papers wpe_312, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.

    More about this item


    Revealed preference; indifference; choice behavior; continuity; nonsatiation; monotonicity; pseudo-utility;

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory

    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:upf:upfgen:952. 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: (). 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.