Preference, Utility, and Choice: Classic Models

  • Fuad Aleskerov
  • Bernard Monjardet
Part of the Studies in Economic Theory book series (ECON.THEORY, volume 16)


In this Chapter we present the basic models used in individual and social choice theory, microeconomics, decision making theory, etc., to describe individual preferences and choices over alternatives, and the links between those models. Section 2.2 bears on the main types of binary relations used to represent preferences, namely, the linear orders, weak orders, partial orders and acyclic relations. We also define here the notion of a partition of the set of alternatives and study the relation of the class of ordered partitions with the class of weak orders. Section 2.3 defines the notion of choice rationalizable by a binary relation, called also pair-dominant choice. Each class of preference relations has the class of pair-dominant choice functions rationalizable by the relations from this class associated with it. Another classic model of choice described in Section 2.4 deals with the selection of the alternatives that are ‘optimal’ according to one or several criteria. The case of one criterion leads to the utility maximization model whereas one of its generalizations is the Paretian multicriterion model. It is shown that the choice functions defined by these utility models are the classes of pair-dominant choice functions rationalizable by linear orders, weak orders and partial orders, respectively.


Partial Order Classic Model Binary Relation Linear Order Choice Function 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fuad Aleskerov
    • 1
  • Bernard Monjardet
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Control SciencesMoskowRussia
  2. 2.CERMSEMMSE - Université de Paris IParis Cedex 13France

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