On the Consistency of Choice

24 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2017

See all articles by Ola Mahmoud

Ola Mahmoud

University of St. Gallen; University of California at Berkeley; Swiss Finance Institute

Date Written: January 30, 2017


The purpose of this paper is to study the notion of consistency of choice independent of the particular choice model at hand. Consistency is viewed as an inherently logical concept that is fundamentally void of connotation and is thus disentangled from traditional rationality or consistency conditions imposed on choice models. The proposed formalization of consistency takes two forms: internal consistency, which refers to the property that an axiomatic choice theory does not generate contradictory statements; and semantic consistency, which refers to the idea that a theory's predictions are valid with respect to some observed data. In addressing semantic consistency, the relationship between theory and data is analyzed in terms of so-called duality mappings, which allow a passage between the two universes in a way that semantic consistency is preserved. The paper concludes by discussing how classical revealed preference theory and other formalizations of the relationship between the theory and reality of choice relate to the proposed framework.

Keywords: consistent choice, internal consistency, semantic consistency, context-dependent preferences

JEL Classification: D00

Suggested Citation

Mahmoud, Ola, On the Consistency of Choice (January 30, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2908142 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2908142

Ola Mahmoud (Contact Author)

University of St. Gallen ( email )

Institute of Economics
Varnb├╝elstrasse 19
St Gallen, St. Gallen 9000

University of California at Berkeley ( email )

Consortium for Data Analytics in Risk
Evans Hall
Berkeley, CA 8032
United States

Swiss Finance Institute ( email )

c/o University of Geneva
40, Bd du Pont-d'Arve
CH-1211 Geneva 4

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