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Preference intensity representation and revelation

Georgios Gerasimou

No 201716, Discussion Paper Series, School of Economics and Finance from School of Economics and Finance, University of St Andrews

Abstract: This paper revisits the problem of preference intensity modelling by proposing and analysing the novel concept of *preference intensity functions*. These retain what are argued to be the most essential properties expected from the consistent numerical representation of preference intensity orderings and the ordinary preferences induced by them. Their existence is characterized by simple and clearly interpretable axioms, while they are also shown to be genuinely ordinally unique and more general than utility functions associated with utility-difference representations. The empirical content of this model is pinned down by means of weak necessary and sufficient condition on observable behavioural data that include choices and additional observables with intensity-revealing potential such as response times, willingness to pay or survey ratings. Finally, a particular normalization of the model allows for simple ordinal interpersonal comparisons of preference intensities to be made, which in turn invite a novel notion of *intensity efficiency* that is shown to be well-defined and to refine Pareto efficiency by discarding allocations that are dominated on intensity-difference grounds.

Date: 2017-12-04, Revised 2019-06-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-geo, nep-his, nep-lab and nep-ure
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