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Rational indecisive choice

Gerasimou, Georgios (2010): Rational indecisive choice.

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Abstract

This paper proposes and characterises two preference-based choice rules that allow the decision maker to choose nothing if the criteria associated with them are satisfied by no feasible alternative. Strict preferences are primitive in the first rule and weak preferences in the second. Each of them includes the corresponding utility-maximisation theory of rational choice as a special case. The first one explains changes in the magnitude of context effects observed in experiments that allow for indecision. The second offers one explanation of experimental findings suggesting that choice is more likely to be made from small rather than from large sets. The general conclusion in both cases is that an individual conforms to meaningful and testable principles of choice consistency whenever assumed to be occasionally indecisive.

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