Primary: Economic Theory, Decision Theory, Behavioral Economics
Secondary: Financial Economics
We develop an extension of Luce’s random choice model to study violations of the weak axiom of revealed preference. We introduce the notion of a stochastic preference and show that it implies the Luce model. Then, to addresses well-known difficulties of the Luce model, we define the attribute rule and establish that the existence of a well-defined stochastic preference over attributes characterizes it. We prove that the set of attribute rules and random utility maximizers are essentially the same. Finally, we show that both the Luce and attribute rules have a unique consistent extension to dynamic problems.
Random Choice and Learning
Updated June 2016
Subjective Ambiguity and Preference for Flexibility
Updated January 2016
First version posted online as: Princeton Economic Theory Center Working Paper 006, September 2010
A preference over menus is monotonic when every menu is at least as good as any of its subsets. The main result is that any numerical representation for a monotonic preference can be written in minimax form. The representation suggests a decision maker who faces uncertainty about her own future tastes and who exhibits an extreme form of ambiguity aversion with respect to this subjective uncertainty. In a setting with a finite number of alternatives, this generalizes Kreps' (1979) seminal characterization of preference for flexibility, and clarifies the consequences of his last axiom, ordinal submodularity. While the remaining axioms are equivalent to the existence of a (weakly) increasing aggregator of second period maximal utilities, ordinal submodularity holds if and only if this aggregator can be taken to be strictly increasing. [Slides]
Lea and Ryan (Science, Reports, 28 August 2015, p. 964) interpret mate choice data collected from frogs in the laboratory as being incompatible with rational choice models currently used in sexual selection theory. A close look at their data supports the hypothesis that some options offered in the lab are easier to compare than others. If we take into account that some pairs of options are easier to compare, and that frogs operate under conditions of uncertainty, we can restore rationality to túngara frogs.
Work in Progress
Closed-form Choice Probabilities in the Multinomial Probit Model
Similarity and Substitutability in Random Choice [Slides]
Sour Grapes and Optimal Expectations [Slides]