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Framing as path dependence

Gold, Natalie and List, Christian (2004) Framing as path dependence. Economics and Philosophy, 20 (2). pp. 253-277. ISSN 1474-0028

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Abstract

A framing effect occurs when an agent’s choices are not invariant under changes in the way a decision problem is presented, e.g. changes in the way options are described (violation of description invariance) or preferences are elicited (violation of procedure invariance). Here we identify those rationality violations that underlie framing effects. Applying a model by List (2004), we attribute to the agent a sequential decision process in which a “target” proposition and several “background” propositions are considered. We suggest that the agent exhibits a framing effect if and only if two conditions are met. First, different presentations of the decision problem lead the agent to consider the propositions in a different order (the empirical condition). Second, different such “decision paths” lead to different decisions on the target proposition (the logical condition). The second condition holds when the agent's initial dispositions on the propositions are “implicitly inconsistent”, which may be caused by violations of “deductive closure”. Our account is consistent with some observations made by psychologists and provides a unified framework for explaining violations of description and procedure invariance.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://uk.cambridge.org/journals/eap/
Additional Information: Published 2004 © Cambridge University Press. LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL (<http://eprints.lse.ac.uk>) of the LSE Research Online website.
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Sets: Departments > Government
Research centres and groups > Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS)
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2006
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/680/

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