Rational agents are the quickest

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Suppose an agent chooses by proceeding through a sequence of criteria: for any pair of alternatives the first criterion that ranks the pair determines the agent's choice. Given any constraint on the capacity of the criteria to discriminate, choices that maximize complete and transitive preferences are always the outcome of a ‘quick’ sequence that uses the minimum number of criteria. For any irrational preference on the other hand there is always a discrimination constraint such that the preference is not the outcome of a quick sequence. When an agent uses attributes to form criteria and each attribute is rationally ordered, a quick sequence that leads to rational preferences necessarily arises.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-233
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Economic Theory
Early online date24 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

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