European Business Schools Librarian's Group

Les Cahiers de Recherche,
HEC Paris

No 919: Confidence in preferences

Brian Hill ()

Abstract: Indeterminate preferences have long been a tricky subject for choice theory. One reason for which preferences may be less than fully determinate is the lack of confidence in one’s preferences. In this paper, a representation of confidence in preferences is proposed. It is used to develop an account of the role which confidence which rests on the following intuition: the more important the decision to be taken, the more confidence is required in the preferences needed to take it. An axiomatisation of this choice rule is proposed. This theory provides a natural account of when an agent should defer a decision; namely, when the importance of the decision exceeds his confidence in the relevant preferences. Possible applications of the notion of confidence in preferences to social choice are briefly explored.

Keywords: Incomplete preference; Revealed preference; Confidence in preferences; Deferral of decisions; Importance of decisions; Social choice

JEL-codes: D01; D71

29 pages, October 1, 2009

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