A simple model of two-stage choice
Series/Report no.Cahier de recherche #2016-01;
I provide choice-theoretic foundations for a simple two-stage model, called transitive shortlist methods, where choices are made by sequentially by applying a pair of transitive preferences (or rationales) to eliminate inferior alternatives. Despite its simplicity, the model accommodates a wide range of choice phenomena including the status quo bias, framing, homophily, compromise, and limited willpower. I establish that the model can be succinctly characterized in terms of some well-documented context effects in choice. I also show that the underlying rationales are straightforward to determine from readily observable reversals in choice. Finally, I highlight the usefulness of these results in a variety of applications.