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Multinomial logit processes and preference discovery: outside and inside the black box

Simone Cerreia-Vioglio, Fabio Maccheroni and Massimo Marinacci

No 663, Working Papers from IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University

Abstract: We provide two characterizations, one axiomatic and the other neuro-computational, of the dependence of choice probabilities on deadlines, within the widely used softmax representation, where pt (a; A) is the probability that alternative a is selected from the set A of feasible alternatives if t is the time available to decide, is a time dependent noise parameter measuring the unit cost of information, u is a time independent utility function, and is an alternative-specific bias that determines the initial choice probabilities and possibly reáects prior information. Our axiomatic analysis provides a behavioral foundation of softmax (also known as Multinomial Logit Model when is constant). Our neuro-computational derivation provides a biologically inspired algorithm that may explain the emergence of softmax in choice behavior. Jointly, the two approaches provide a thorough understanding of soft-maximization in terms of internal causes (neurophysiological mechanisms) and external e§ects (testable implications). Keywords: Discrete Choice Analysis, Drift Di§usion Model, Heteroscedastic Extreme Value Models, Luce Model, Metropolis Algorithm, Multinomial Logit Model, Quantal Response Equilib ium, Rational Inattention

Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dcm, nep-gen, nep-ore and nep-upt
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