Confidence in preferences


Social Choice and Welfare

July 2012, vol. 39, n°2/3, pp.273-302

Departments: Economics & Decision Sciences, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Indeterminate preferences have long been a tricky subject for choice theory.One reason for which preferences may be less than fully determinate is the lackof confidence in one's preferences. In this paper, a representation of confidence inpreferences is proposed. It is used to develop an account of the role which confidencewhich rests on the following intuition: the more important the decision to betaken, the more confidence is required in the preferences needed to take it. An axiomatisationof this choice rule is proposed. This theory provides a natural accountof when an agent should defer a decision; namely, when the importance of the decisionexceeds his confidence in the relevant preferences. Possible applications ofthe 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