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A model of non-informational preference change

Dietrich, Franz and List, Christian (2011) A model of non-informational preference change. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 23 (2). pp. 145-164. ISSN 0951-6298

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According to standard rational choice theory, as commonly used in political science and economics, an agent's fundamental preferences are exogenously fixed, and any preference change over decision options is due to Bayesian information learning. Although elegant and parsimonious, such a model fails to account for preference change driven by experiences or psychological changes distinct from information learning. We develop a model of non-informational preference change. Alternatives are modelled as points in some multidimensional space, only some of whose dimensions play a role in shaping the agent's preferences. Any change in these 'motivationally salient' dimensions can change the agent's preferences. How it does so is described by a new representation theorem. Our model not only captures a wide range of frequently observed phenomena, but also generalizes some standard representations of preferences in political science and economics.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2011 The Authors
Library of Congress subject classification: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
J Political Science > JC Political theory
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 11:19

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