Work in Progress

A Foundation for Universalisation in Games

Abstract

Revealed preference theory equates choices to tastes. Nevertheless, if a moral principle prescribes an act for reasons unrelated to its consequences, the inference drawn regarding tastes is misleading. In this paper, I study the behaviour of deontological individuals who follow the moral principle of universalisation. They choose the action that, if chosen by everyone else as well, leads to their preferred outcome. I develop a decision theory for individuals who value the impact of their choice in determining a counterfactual outcome they envision. Choice is interpreted as revealing a preference for counterfactual outcomes. The theory can be specified to obtain the most prominent models of universalisation, compare them, highlight, and arguably overcome their limitations. I propose a unifying model of universalisation inspired by the equal sacrifice principle.

Draft [New version coming soon!]

Belief-dependent Motivations and Belief Updating

Abstract

I develop a theory of motivated belief updating. An individual who exhibits preferences for her beliefs faces a dynamic decision problem. Ex-ante behavior reveals that she anticipates she will distort her beliefs to satisfy her belief-dependent preferences. I provide assumptions that allow identifying preferences, prior beliefs, and departures from Bayesian updating. The theory rationalises excessive trading, the ostrich effect, and moral wiggle room.

Preliminary draft available upon request

Can Pessimistic Beliefs Threaten Redistribution?

Abstract

We develop and test a theory of how beliefs about other people's responsiveness to incentives shape preferences for redistribution. In a linear income taxation model where agents have heterogeneous prosocial preferences, more altruistic agents distort their labour supply to a lesser extent when the tax rate is higher. If agents have imperfect information on (the distribution of) preferences in the society, overly pessimistic beliefs imply a relatively low Condorcet-winner tax, even though most agents are poor and/or altruist. We develop an experimental design to test this prediction.

Preliminary draft available upon request

Other Work

I have some work in areas in the neighborhood of economics, but not quite there. You can find it here.

The Chaining Argument Unchained

Abstract

We argue that Chang's chaining argument against the Trichotomy Thesis relies on a notion of distance that is a trichotomous relation itself. Building from this insight, we show that the premises of the argument are inconsistent with each other and the argument is therefore unsound. Our result illuminates that the chaining argument does not provide insights into axiology.

Preliminary draft available upon request

Book Review

Review of Ivan Moscati’s Measuring Utility: From the Marginal Revolution to Behavioral Economics