A model of non-informational preference change

Franz Dietrich, Christian List

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

According to standard rational choice theory, as commonly used in political science and economics, an agent’s fundamental preferences are exogenously fixed, and any preference change over decision options is due to Bayesian information learning. Although elegant and parsimonious, such a model fails to account for preference change driven by experiences or psychological changes distinct from information learning. We develop a model of non-informational preference change. Alternatives are modelled as points in some multidimensional space, only some of whose dimensions play a role in shaping the agent’s preferences. Any change in these ‘motivationally salient’ dimensions can change the agent’s preferences. How it does so is described by a new representation theorem. Our model not only captures a wide range of frequently observed phenomena, but also generalizes some standard representations of preferences in political science and economics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-164
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Theoretical Politics
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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