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Topological Connectedness and Behavioral Assumptions on Preferences: A Two-Way Relationship

M. Ali Khan and Metin Uyan{\i}k

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Abstract: This paper offers a comprehensive treatment of the question as to whether a binary relation can be consistent (transitive) without being decisive (complete), or decisive without being consistent, or simultaneously inconsistent or indecisive, in the presence of a continuity hypothesis that is, in principle, non-testable. It identifies topological connectedness of the (choice) set over which the continuous binary relation is defined as being crucial to this question. Referring to the two-way relationship as the Eilenberg-Sonnenschein (ES) research program, it presents four synthetic, and complete, characterizations of connectedness, and its natural extensions; and two consequences that only stem from it. The six theorems are novel to both the economic and the mathematical literature: they generalize pioneering results of Eilenberg (1941), Sonnenschein (1965), Schmeidler (1971) and Sen (1969), and are relevant to several applied contexts, as well as to ongoing theoretical work.

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Date: 2018-10, Revised 2018-10
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Published in Economic Theory (2019)

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