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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. Active choices are therefore 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 for empirical and
theoretical work.
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2450-2479
JournalThe Economic Journal
Volume128
Issue number614
Early online date24 Mar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

    Research areas

  • Choice deferral, Incomplete preferences, Indecisiveness, Unattractiveness, Choice overload, Revealed preference, Rational choice

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