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Indecisiveness, Undesirability and Overload Revealed Through Rational Choice Deferral

Gerasimou, Georgios (2015): Indecisiveness, Undesirability and Overload Revealed Through Rational Choice Deferral.

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Abstract

Three reasons why decision makers may defer choice are *indecisiveness* between various feasible options, *unattractiveness* of these options, and *choice overload*. This paper provides a choice-theoretic explanation for each of these phenomena by means of three deferral-permitting models of decision making that are driven by preference incompleteness, undesirability and complexity constraints, respectively. These models feature *rational* choice deferral in the sense that whenever the individual does not defer, he chooses a most preferred feasible option. As a result, choices are always consistent with the Weak Axiom of Revealed Preference. The three models suggest novel ways in which observable data can be used to recover preferences as well as their indecisiveness, desirability and complexity components or thresholds. Several examples illustrate the relevance of these models in empirical and theoretical applications.

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