The Laws of Preference


Scientific analysis always uses theories and models as simplified pictures of reality. Irrelevant details are stripped away to permit us to concentrate upon essentials. The economist’s simplified picture or theory of preference is based upon two axioms:

  1. Axiom of Comparison: Any two distinct baskets A and B of commodities can be compared in preference by the individual. Each such comparison must lead to one of three following results: a) Basket A is preferred to basket B, or b) B is preferred to A, or c) A and B are indifferent.
  2. Axiom of Transtivity: Consider any three baskets A, B, and C. If A is preferred to B, and B is preferred to C, then A must be preferred to C. similarly, if A is indifferent to B, and B to C, then A is indifferent to C.

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