European Business Schools Librarian's Group

Les Cahiers de Recherche,
HEC Paris

No 873: Three analyses of sour grapes

Brian Hill ()

Abstract: The phenomenon of adaptive preferences – sometimes also known under the name of sour grapes – has long caused a stir in Social Theory. In this paper, the precise problem posed by adaptive preferences, as seen from the point of view of a theoretician who intends to model or understand the phenomenon, will be clarified, and three models of the phenomenon will be presented and compared. The general intention of the article is to sound out some of the wider consequences of the phenomenon for the project of modelling and understanding the relationship between decisions taken in different situations. Difficulties which arise when several decisions and several situations are involved shall be discussed, and an approach to these difficulties shall be suggested.

Keywords: Adaptive preferences; preference change; belief change; decision theory; belief and utility elicitation; representation theorems.

JEL-codes: B49; D89

22 pages, April 13, 2007

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