Choice functions and hard choices

Martin van Hees, Akshath Jitendranath, Roland Iwan Luttens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A hard choice is a situation in which an agent is unable to make a justifiable choice from a given menu of alternatives. Our objective is to present a systematic treatment of the axiomatic structure of such situations. To do so, we draw on and contribute to the study of choice functions that can be indecisive, i.e., that may fail to select a non-empty set for some menus. In this more general framework, we present new characterizations of two well-known choice rules, the maximally dominant choice rule and the top-cycle choice rule. Together with existing results, this yields an understanding of the circumstances in which hard choices arise.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102479
JournalJournal of Mathematical Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Hard choice
  • Indecisive choice function
  • Maximally dominant choice
  • Top-cycle choice


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