More freedom of choice but less preference satisfaction in parametric situations

Hanna van Loo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Freedom of choice is often defended with reference to its positive influence on the satisfaction of preferences. The more choice options there are, the greater the level of utility one derives from choosing one of the options. Moreover, it is assumed that the satisfaction of preferences will not decrease if the size of the choice set increases, in particular in parametric situations. This paper opposes this conclusion by showing that choosing option a from a one-element choice set {a} may not be identical with choosing option a from a two-element choice set {a,b}. The character and the consequences of choosing option a may change considerably with the addition of another option b. Therefore, the level of utility derived from option a changes as well, possibly even in a negative way. Hence, an increase in freedom of choice may diminish one's preference satisfaction, also in parametric situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-252
Number of pages16
JournalRationality and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May-2010


  • freedom of choice
  • parametric situations
  • rational choice
  • satisfaction of preferences
  • specific-instrumental value

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