The Structure of the Environment and the Complexity of Rational Choice Procedures

14 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2018

See all articles by Philipp Zahn

Philipp Zahn

University of St. Gallen

Paulo Oliva

Queen Mary University of London - School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

Date Written: September 20, 2018

Abstract

Beginning with Herbert Simon, the literature on bounded rationality has investigated in great detail how internal limitations affect an agent’s choice process. The structure of the choice environment, deemed as important as internal limitations by Simon, has been mostly ignored. We introduce a model of the environment and its interaction with an agent’s choice process. Focusing on online environments where an agent can use filter and sort functionality to support his decision-making, we show, a choice process relying on the environment can be rationalized. Moreover, for sufficiently many alternatives, filtering and sorting are quick ways to choose rationally.

Keywords: Environment, Choice Procedure, Complexity

Suggested Citation

Zahn, Philipp and Oliva, Paulo, The Structure of the Environment and the Complexity of Rational Choice Procedures (September 20, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3252653 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3252653

Philipp Zahn (Contact Author)

University of St. Gallen ( email )

Dufourstrasse 50
St.Gallen, CH-9000
Switzerland

Paulo Oliva

Queen Mary University of London - School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science ( email )

Mile End Road, Mile End
London, England E1 4NS
United Kingdom

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