Individuals’ decisions in the presence of multiple goals

This paper develops new directions on how individuals’ use of multiple goals can be incorporated in econometric models of individual decision making. We start by outlining key components of multiple, simultaneous goal pursuit and multi-stage choice. Since different goals are often only partially compatible, such a multiple goal-based approach implies balancing goals, leading to a deliberate goal-level choice strategy on the part of the decision maker. Accordingly, we introduce a conceptual framework to classify different aspects of individuals’ decisions in the presence of multiple goals. Based on this framework we propose a formalization of individual decision making when pursuing multiple goals. We briefly review different previous streams on goal-based decision making and how the proposed goal-driven conceptual framework relates to earlier research in discrete choice models. The framework is illustrated using examples from different domains, in particular marketing, environmental economics, transportation and sociology. Finally, we discuss identification and modeling needs for goal-based choice strategies and opportunities for further research.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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