Does Choice Change Preference?

25 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2018

See all articles by Carlos Alós-Ferrer

Carlos Alós-Ferrer

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Georg D. Granic

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Applied Economics

Date Written: August 9, 2018


Do choices feed back into and alter preferences? Widespread evidence arising in psychology and neuroscience shows that preferences change in response to own choices, a phenomenon typically explained through cognitive dissonance. The evidence, however, presents serious shortcomings casting doubts on its relevance for economics. We present two experiments addressing these shortcomings. First, participants made standard decisions under risk rather than facing unfamiliar alternatives. Second, all choices were incentivized. Third, our novel experimental design avoids recently-exposed problems of experiments in psychology. The results show unsystematic effects which differ from and challenge conventional wisdom outside economics.

Keywords: Preference Change, Stability of Preferences, Construction of Preference

JEL Classification: C91, D01, D91

Suggested Citation

Alos-Ferrer, Carlos and Granic, Georg, Does Choice Change Preference? (August 9, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Carlos Alos-Ferrer

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )


Georg Granic (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Applied Economics ( email )


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