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Where do preferences come from?

Dietrich, Franz and List, Christian (2010) Where do preferences come from? London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

Rational choice theory analyzes how an agent can rationally act, given his or her preferences, but says little about where those preferences come from. Instead, preferences are usually assumed to be fixed and exogenously given. We introduce a framework for conceptualizing preference formation and preference change. In our model, an agent's preferences are based on certain 'motivationally salient' properties of the alternatives over which the preferences are held. Preferences may change as new properties of the alternatives become salient or previously salient ones cease to be so. We suggest that our approach captures endogenous preferences in various contexts, and helps to illuminate the distinction between formal and substantive concepts of rationality, as well as the role of perception in rational choice.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/list/PDF-files/DietrichL...
Additional Information: © 2010 The Authors
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Sets: Departments > Government
Departments > Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Research centres and groups > Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS)
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2011 10:17
Last Modified: 07 May 2015 10:13
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/31585

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