Two stage rationality under risk: Experimental results and perspectives

  • Bertrand Munier


Assuming that choices are made on grounds of unobservable heuristics and/or sets of routines, rational choices are nevertheless represented by use of choice functionals, the maximum of which on a given possibility set designates the individual’s choice. This paper argues that, in descriptive models, this does not imply at all a ‘strong’ (as opposed to bounded) type of individual rationality unless the functional is in some sense “universal”.

Making use of such a criterion, the paper shows that it is possible to design an experimental protocol which allows distinguishing between these two modes of rational behavior. It shows further that decisions under risk appear as two-level rational ones, which is an experimental support to some of Herbert Simon’s views. Finally, it is shown that adaptiveness of rational behavior may be limited, in simple cases like choosing between static lotteries, to coefficients’ changes in a rank-dependent model.


Indifference Curve Instrumental Rationality Unit Triangle Choice Pattern Order Stochastic Dominance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Razionalità a due stadi in condizioni di rischio: Risultati sperimentali e prospettive


Supponendo che le scelte siano prese sulla base di curistiche non osservabili e/o di routines, la scelta razionale è sempre rappresentata per mezzo di funzionali di scelta, i cui punti di massimo su un certo insieme aminissibile rappresentano la scclta dell’individuo. Questo lavoro sostiene che, nei modelli descrittivi, ciò non implichi affatto una razionalità individuale ‘forte’ (invece che ‘limitata’), a meno che il funzionale non sia in qualche senso “universale”.

Facendo ricorso a tale criterio, questo lavoro mostra che è possibile disegnare un protocollo sperimentale che consente di distinguere tra queste due modalità di comportamento razionale. Inoltre, mostra anche come le decisioni in condizioni di rischio appaiano come decisioni razionali a due livelli, offrendo una base empirica per alcuni punti di vista sostenuti da Herbert Simon. Infine, si mostra che l’adattabilità del comportamento razionale può essere limitata, in alcuni semplici esempi di scelta tra lotterie statiche, alle variazioni di coefficienti in un modello rank-dependent.


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Copyright information

© Associazione per la Matematica Applicata alle Scienze Economiche e Sociali (AMASES) 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.École Normale SupéricureDépartement d’Économie et Gestion 61, Avenue du President WilsonCachan cedexFrance

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