The value of opportunities over time when preferences are unstable

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Most work on measuring opportunity is directed at ranking opportunity sets. This paper addresses the more general issue of assessing the opportunity provided by multi-period decision problems, focusing on the dynamic inconsistencies that can occur if agent's preferences are unstable. A principle is proposed by which a dominance relation among outcomes iteratively induces a dominance relation among multi-period problems. This principle implies that opportunities to make sequences of individually reasonable actions have positive value, even if, because of dynamic inconsistency, those sequences lead to unambiguous loss. Opportunities which allow an agent to constrain herself are shown to have zero value.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-682
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Choice and Welfare
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007

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