Theory and Decision

, Volume 67, Issue 4, pp 385–404 | Cite as

Framing effects as violations of extensionality

  • Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde
  • Raphaël GiraudEmail author


Framing effects occur when different descriptions of the same decision problem give rise to divergent decisions. They can be seen as a violation of the decision-theoretic version of the principle of extensionality (PE). The PE in logic means that two logically equivalent sentences can be substituted salva veritate. We explore what this notion of extensionality becomes in decision contexts. Violations of extensionality may have rational grounds. Based on some ideas proposed by the psychologist Craig McKenzie and colleagues, we contend that framing effects are justified when the selection of one particular frame conveys choice relevant information. We first discuss this idea from a philosophical point of view, and proceed next to formalize it first in the context of the Bolker–Jeffrey decision theory. Finally, we extend the previous analysis to non-expected utility theories using the Biseparable Preference model introduced by Ghirardato and Marinacci (2001) and therefore show that the analysis is independent of the assumptions of Bayesian decision theory.


Framing effects Extensionality Information processing Bolker–Jeffrey decision model Biseparable Preferences 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut Jean Nicod, Ecole Normale SupérieureParisFrance
  2. 2.CRESEUniversity of Franche-ComtéBesançonFrance

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