Rationalizing Choice with Multi-Self Models

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2012-05-01

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Abstract

This paper studies a class of multi-self decision-making models proposed in economics, psychology, and marketing. In this class, choices arise from the set-dependent aggregation of a collection of utility functions, where the aggregation procedure satisfies some simple properties. We propose a method for characterizing the extent of irrationality in a choice behavior, and use this measure to provide a lower bound on the set of choice behaviors that can be rationalized with n utility functions. Under an additional assumption (scale-invariance), we show that generically at most five "reasons" are needed for every "mistake."

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