July 2011

IZA DP No. 5891: Manipulation of Choice Behavior

revised version published as 'Two-stage threshold representations' in: Theoretical Economics, 2013, 8, 875–882

We introduce and study the problem of manipulation of choice behavior. In a class of two-stage models of decision making, with the agent's choices determined by three "psychological variables," we imagine that a subset of these variables can be selected by a "manipulator." To what extent does this confer control of the agent's behavior? Within the specified framework, which overlaps with two existing models of choice under cognitive constraints, we provide a complete answer to this question.