Economic Theory Bulletin

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 115–128 | Cite as

On the characterization of preference continuity by chains of sets

Research Article


This paper characterizes continuity and upper and lower semicontinuity of preference relations, which may or may not be representable by utility functions, on arbitrary topological spaces. One characterization is by the existence of an appropriate chain of sets. This approach can be used to generate preference relations that fulfill predetermined conditions, to obtain examples or counterexamples. The second characterization of continuity is closely related to the concept of scale, but, in contrast to previous work, does not rely on the existence of a utility function.


Preferences Continuity 

JEL Classification

D01 D11 



We thank José Carlos Rodríguez Alcantud, Johannes Buckenmaier, Johannes Kern, and two anonymous referees for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Advanced Studies Vienna, and Vienna Graduate School of FinanceViennaAustria

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