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Rational Choice with Intransitive Preferences

Santosh C. Panda

Studies in Microeconomics, 2018, vol. 6, issue 1-2, 66-83

Abstract: Abstract Traditional rational choice theory assumes that the weak preference relation of an agent is an ordering that is it satisfies reflexivity, completeness and transitivity. It is also well known that the ordering property is essential to build the traditional ordinal utility analysis of consumer behaviour. However, there can be many situations when the weak preference relation of an agent may violate transitivity property, and hence, is not an ordering. In such situations traditional ordinal utility analysis breaks down. This paper develops a framework and discusses all the important results of rational choice theory when preferences are intransitive. It looks at weaker rationality properties such as quasi-transitivity and acyclicity and based on that it introduces weaker concepts of rationality such as quasi-transitive rationality and acyclic rationality and characterizes them. It also brings in the congruence axioms and property of path independence, and establishes the link with rationality. Finally, it analyzes how the results will change if we bring in restricted domain assumption of the choice function. JEL Classification: D01, D10, D11

Keywords: Rational choice; transitivity; quasi-transitivity; acyclicity; congruence axioms; path independence (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1177/2321022218799001

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