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Choice theories can be classified in a number of ways. Normative theories seek to clarify how decisions should be made; descriptive theories try to understand how they are made in the real world. Theories may also concentrate on decisions made by individuals, groups, or societies. Normative theories tend to emphasize rational decision making and provide the underpinnings for economic evaluations, decision analysis, and technology assessment. Variations, including shared decision making, often focus on who should be making decisions but retain the assumptions of rationality. In contrast, descriptive models often emphasize psychological factors, including heuristics and biases. At the policy-making level, however, the recognition of the difficulties in constructing social welfare functions has led to intermediate models with both normative and descriptive elements, including bounded rationality, ...

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