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Reason-based choice and context-dependence: An explanatory framework

Dietrich, Franz and List, Christian (2015): Reason-based choice and context-dependence: An explanatory framework.

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Abstract

We introduce a “reason-based” framework for explaining and predicting individual choices. It captures the idea that a decision-maker focuses on some but not all properties of the options and chooses an option whose motivationally salient properties he/she most prefers. Reason-based explanations allow us to distinguish between two kinds of context-dependent choice: the motivationally salient properties may (i) vary across choice contexts, and (ii) include not only “intrinsic” properties of the options, but also “context-related” properties. Our framework can accommodate boundedly rational and sophisticatedly rational choice. Since properties can be recombined in new ways, it also o↵ers resources for predicting choices in unobserved contexts.

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