David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Rational choice theory assumes agents have a set of basic preferences, and specifies rationality conditions that much be met to optimally satisfy those preferences. Most experimental studies in behavioural economics are either explicit tests of whether actual behaviour conforms to these rationality conditions, or else developments of theories that began that way. This chapter is a selective review of these experimental studies. It focuses on differences between the conditions of choice that are normatively irrelevant according to the rationality conditions, yet which nonetheless have a profound influence on preference. These include framing of consequences, adding irrelevant items to the choice set, and changing the way preferences are expressed. The chapter discusses how preferences are not precomputed, but rather produced at the moment of choice from information that is made salient by the choice context.
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