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Preferences, Revealed

DESCRIPTIONPhoto: Andres Rueda

I was on an airplane recently, daydreaming about the often-vast gulf between people’s declared preferences (what they say they’ll do) and their revealed preferences (what they actually do).
I am guessing that even you, wise reader, sometimes exhibit this gap. (I know I do.) Maybe you tell yourself you’ll save X dollars this year, and wind up saving only ? of X. Maybe you don’t exercise or vote or go to church as often as you might tell a pollster that you do.
Hey: I’m not here to judge; that’s the way life is. (And some people, myself included, make their livelihoods by exploring the gap between declared and revealed preferences.)
Back to the airplane ride: it was time for lunch to be served. The area around me was split about equally between people who looked to have a Body Mass Index that would put them in the “overweight” category (I know, I know; BMI is a flawed measure), and those who looked BMI-normal. The flight attendant offered two entrée choices: chicken parmesan and poached-salmon salad.
You know where I’m going with this, don’t you? Yes, the high-BMI’ers all ordered the chicken parm, and the normals got the salmon salad.
Preferences, revealed.