Mistakes or Reflexive Choices?

Présentation de João Varandas Ferreira (CREM, Université de Rennes 1)


João Varandas Ferreira

Neoclassical economics uses the maximization of a stable and exogenous preference relation as the benchmark for positive and normative economics. Following the evidence that behavior depends on context and experience, several authors have designed models that treat behavior inconsistent with the maximization of a stable preference as mistaken. In this paper, I defend that it is important to distinguish mistakes from inconsistent behavior that results from choices that individuals identify with (reflexive choices). I make this case for both positive and normative economics, and argue that taking into account individual reflexive evaluations is important in order to respect individual sovereignty. I also formalize a notion of reflexive preferences, which allows to distinguish between reflexive and non-reflexive choices in a precise way.