Modelling change in individual characteristics: An axiomatic framework

Abstract
Economic models describe individuals in terms of underlying characteristics, such as taste for some good, sympathy level for another player, time discount rate, risk attitude, and so on. In real life, such characteristics change: taste for Mozart changes by listening to it, sympathy for another player changes by observing his moves, and so on. Models typically ignore change, not just for simplicity but also because it is unclear how to incorporate change. I introduce a general axiomatic framework for analysing and comparing rival models of change. I show that seemingly basic postulates on modelling change together have strong implications, like irrelevance of the order in which someone has his experiences and ‘linearity’ of change. The …ndings help model selection, for both theoretical purposes (e.g. in game and decision theory) and empirical purposes (e.g. testing hypotheses or estimating parameters of change).
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