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Rational choice and revealed preference without binariness

Klaus Nehring

Social Choice and Welfare, 1997, vol. 14, issue 3, 403-425

Abstract: This paper attempts to provide a unified account of the rationalization of possibly non-binary choice-functions by "Extended Preference Relations" (relations between sets and elements). The analysis focuses on transitive EPRs for which three choice-functional characterizations are given, two of them based on novel axioms. Transitive EPRs are shown to be rationalizable by sets of orderings that are "closed under compromise"; this novel requirement is argued to be the key to establish a canonical relationship between sets of orderings and choice-functions. The traditional assumption of "binariness" on preference relations or choice functions is shown to be analytically unhelpful and normatively unfounded; non-binariness may arise from "unresolvedness of preference", a previously unrecognized aspect of preference incompleteness.

Date: 1997
Note: Received: 28 August 1995/Accepted: 14 February 1996
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