Desires, Preferences and Sen's Liberal Paradox

17 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2015

See all articles by Manfred J. Holler

Manfred J. Holler

University of Hamburg - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration

Date Written: January 19, 2015

Abstract

In this paper, Sen’s Liberal Paradox is used to discuss differences between desires and preferences and the relationship between these two concepts. Desires and preferences can mix in real life and in theorizing. In fact, it seems that the mixing of desires and preferences can explain many of the inconsistencies that people show in decision making, especially in experiments that take place in laboratories, but also in theorizing. A power analysis and a game theoretical model of Sen’s example of reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover illustrate the problem of mixing desires and preferences. The paper discusses the question: Are there preferences on desires and are these preferences different from preferences on alternatives?

Keywords: desires, bounded rationality, evaluation of options, quality of life

JEL Classification: D01, D03, I31

Suggested Citation

Holler, Manfred J., Desires, Preferences and Sen's Liberal Paradox (January 19, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2553883 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2553883

Manfred J. Holler (Contact Author)

University of Hamburg - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Von-Melle-Park 5
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

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