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Behavioural Decisions and Welfare

  • Dalton, Patricio

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

  • Ghosal, Sayantan

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

We study decision problems where (a) preference parameters are defined to include psychological/moral considerations and (b) there is a feedback effect from chosen actions to preference parameters. In a standard decision problem the chosen action is required to be optimal when the feedback effect from actions to preference parameters is fully taken into account. In a behavioural decision problem the chosen action is optimal taking preference parameters as given although chosen actions and preference parameters are required to be mutually consistent. Our framework unifes seemingly disconnected papers in the literature. We characterize the conditions under which behavioural and standard decisions problems are indistinguishable : in smooth settings, the two decision problems are generically distinguishable. We show that in general, revealed preferences cannot be used for making welfare judgements and we characterize the conditions under which they can inform welfare analysis. We provide an existence result for the case of incomplete preferences. We suggest novel implications for policy and welfare analysis.

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File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2008/twerp_834.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 834.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:834
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Web page: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/

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  1. Jonathan Shalev, 2000. "Loss aversion equilibrium," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 269-287.
  2. Hammond, Peter J., 1976. "Endogenous tastes and stable long-run choice," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 329-340, October.
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  4. Yusufcan Masatlioglu & Daisuke Nakajima & Erkut Y. Ozbay, 2012. "Revealed Attention," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2183-2205, August.
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  6. B. Douglas Bernheim, 2009. "Behavioral Welfare Economics," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 267-319, 04-05.
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  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. John Beshears & James Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian, 2008. "How are Preferences Revealed?," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2466, Yale School of Management.
  10. George Loewenstein, Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Projection Bias in Predicting Future Utility," Economics Working Papers E00-284, University of California at Berkeley.
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  12. Dalton, Patricio; Ghosal, Sayantan;, 2010. "Decisions with Endogenous Frames," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 30, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  13. 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.
  14. Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, 2003. "Libertarian Paternalism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 175-179, May.
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  18. repec:dgr:kubcen:2011124 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Geanakoplos, John & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1989. "Psychological games and sequential rationality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 60-79, March.
  20. Botond Kőszegi, 2010. "Utility from anticipation and personal equilibrium," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 415-444, September.
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  27. 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.
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