EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Rational Inattention to Discrete Choices: A New Foundation for the Multinomial Logit Model

Filip Matejka and Alisdair McKay ()

CERGE-EI Working Papers from The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague

Abstract: Often, individuals must choose among discrete alternatives with imperfect information about their values, such as selecting a job candidate, a vehicle or a university. Before choosing, they may have an opportunity to study the options, but doing so is costly. This costly information acquisition creates new choices such as the number of and types of questions to ask the job candidates. We model these situations using the tools of the rational inattention approach to information frictions (Sims, 2003). We find that the decision maker's optimal strategy results in choosing probabilistically exactly in line with the multinomial logit model. This provides a new interpretation for a workhorse model of discrete choice theory. We also study cases for which the multinomial logit is not applicable, in particular when two options are duplicates. In such cases, our model generates a generalization of the logit formula, which is free of the limitations of the standard logit.

Keywords: rational inattention; discrete choice; logit model (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D81 D83 D01 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dcm and nep-ecm
Date: 2011-06
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (12) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.cerge-ei.cz/pdf/wp/Wp442.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: Rational Inattention to Discrete Choices: A New Foundation for the Multinomial Logit Model (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Rational Inattention to Discrete Choices: A New Foundation for the Multinomial Logit Model (2011)
Working Paper: Rational Inattention to Discrete Choices: A New Foundation for the Multinomial Logit Model (2011) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cer:papers:wp442

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in CERGE-EI Working Papers from The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Jana Koudelkova ().

 
Page updated 2019-10-15
Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp442