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SOCIAL NORMS, RATIONAL CHOICE AND BELIEF CHANGE HORACIO ARL O-COSTA AND ARTHUR PAUL PEDERSEN
 

Summary: SOCIAL NORMS, RATIONAL CHOICE AND BELIEF CHANGE
HORACIO ARL ŽO-COSTA AND ARTHUR PAUL PEDERSEN
ABSTRACT. This article elaborates on foundational issues in the social sciences and their
impact on the contemporary theory of belief revision. Recent work in the foundations of
economics has focused on the role external social norms play in choice. Amartya Sen
has argued in [Sen93] that the traditional rationalizability approach used in the theory of
rational choice has serious problems accommodating the role of social norms. Sen's more
recent work [Sen96, Sen97] proposes how one might represent social norms in the theory of
choice, and in a very recent article [BS07] Walter Bossert and Kotaro Suzumura develop
Sen's proposal, offering an extension of the classical theory of choice that is capable of
dealing with social norms.
The first part of this article offers an alternative functional characterization of the ex-
tended notion of rationality employed by Bossert and Suzumura in [BS07]. This character-
ization, unlike the one offered in [BS07], represents a norm-sensitive notion of rationality
in terms of a pure functional constraint unmediated by a notion of revealed preference
(something that is crucial for the application developed in the second part of this arti-
cle). This functional characterization is formulated for general domains (as is Bossert and
Suzumura's characterization) and is therefore empirically more applicable than usual char-
acterizations of rationality. Interestingly, the functional constraint we propose is a variant
of a condition first entertained in [AGM85] by Carlos AlchourrŽon, Peter Gšardenfors and

  

Source: Andrews, Peter B. - Department of Mathematical Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University

 

Collections: Mathematics