Bonifacio, Matteo and Bouquet, Paolo and Ferrario, Roberta and Ponte, Diego (2002) Rationality, Autonomy and Coordination: the Sunk Costs Perspective. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)
Our thesis is that an agent1 is autonomous only if he is capable, within a non predictable environment, to balance two forms of rationality: one that, given goals and preferences, enables him to select the best course of action (means-ends), the other, given current achievements and capabilities, enables him to adapt preferences and future goals. We will propose the basic elements of an economic model that should explain how and why this balance is achieved: in particular we underline that an agent’s capabilities can often be considered as partially sunk investments. This leads an agent, while choosing, to consider not just the value generated by the achievement of a goal, but also the lost value generated by the non use of existing capabilities.We will propose that, under particular conditions, an agent, in order to be rational, could be led to perform a rationalization process of justification that changes preferences and goals according to his current state and available capabilities. Moreover, we propose that such a behaviour could offer a new perspective on the notion of autonomy and on the social process of coordination.
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