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Choice and Attention Across Time

Xi Zhi Lim

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Abstract: I study how past choices affect future choices in the framework of attention. Limited consideration causes a failure of "rationality", where better options are not chosen because the decision maker has failed to consider them. I innovate and consider sequences of choices, where past choices are necessarily considered in future choice problems. This provides a link between two kinds of rationality violations: those that occur in a cross-section of one-shot decisions and those that occur within a sequence of realized choices. In my setting, the former helps identify attention whereas the latter pins down true preferences. Both types of violations vanish over time and furnish a novel notion of stability. A series of results shows that attention across time can act as a manifestation of attention at a given time, and a full characterization of compatible models is provided.

Date: 2022-03
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Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:2203.03243