• Open Access

Choice by lexicographic semiorders


  • Paola Manzini,

    1. School of Economics and Finance, University of St. Andrews and IZA; paola.manzini@st-andrews.ac.uk
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  • Marco Mariotti

    1. School of Economics and Finance, University of St. Andrews; marco.mariotti@st-andrews.ac.uk
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    • Countless discussions on related matters with Michael Mandler were crucially helpful in shaping our ideas for this paper. We were also influenced by a previous version of Jose Apesteguia and Miguel Angel Ballester's (2010) paper and by useful exchanges with them, for which we are grateful. We also thank the coeditor, Bart Lipman, two anonymous referees, and Sean Horan for many insightful comments. Finally, we are grateful to Gil Riella for spotting a mistake in a previous version of this paper. Part of the work on this paper was carried out while visiting the Economics Department “Marco Fanno” at the University of Padova; their generous hospitality is gratefully acknowledged.


In Tversky's (1969) model of a lexicographic semiorder, a preference is generated via the sequential application of numerical criteria by declaring an alternative x better than an alternative y if the first criterion that distinguishes between x and y ranks x higher than y by an amount exceeding a fixed threshold. We generalize this idea to a fully fledged model of boundedly rational choice. We explore the connection with sequential rationalizability of choice (Apesteguia and Ballester 2010, Apesteguia and Ballester 2010) and we provide axiomatic characterizations of both models in terms of observable choice data.