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Research project

Assessing the Value of Freedom: An Experimental Approach

Project overview

Individuals regularly make choices in situations of abundance of options. According to a widespread view, this abundance of choice is desirable: the more we have the choice, the freer we are, and the more likely we are to find the option that best fits our needs and preferences. The overall objective of the project is to study the value individuals place on freedom of choice. We consider this question from two perspectives. A first perspective is to study how people value and compare different sets of choices. These sets can be of different sizes, contain more or varied options and be more or less subject to external constraints (a third person in particular). The questions we are studying are: Do people have a preference for a wider range of opportunities? How sensitive are they to the interference of others? In a second perspective, we study the effects of the abundance (or overabundance) of opportunities on individual choices. It is a question of identifying whether the increase in the size of the set of choices leads to phenomena of inconsistency of choice and preferences. For example, does greater freedom favor a preference for familiar options?


Other researchers

Dr Joao V. Ferreira PhD

Lecturer in Economics

Research interests

  • Behavioural and experimental economics
  • Individual and social choice
  • Political economy
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