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Characterizing Behavioral Decisions with Choice Data

Characterizing Behavioral Decisions with Choice Data

107/2013 Sayantan Ghosal and Patricio Dalton
working papers,culture and development

107/2013 Sayantan Ghosal and Patricio Dalton

This paper provides an axiomatic characterization of choices in a setting where a decision-maker may not fully internalize all the consequences of her choices on herself. Such a departure from rationality, it turns out, is common across a variety of positive behavioural models and admits the standard rational choice model as a special case. We show that choice data satisfying (a) Sen’s axioms and fully characterize behavioural decisions, and (b) Sen’s axiom and fully characterize standard decision-making. In addition, we show that (a) it is possible to identify a minimal and a maximal set of psychological states using choice data alone, and (b) under specific choice scenarios, "revealed mistakes" can be inferred directly from choice data.

Culture and Development