Christopher P. Chambers, Alan D. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate a normative theory of incomplete preferences in the context of preliminary screening procedures. We introduce a theory of ranking in the presence of objectively incomparable marginal contributions (apples and oranges). Our theory recommends benchmarking, a method under which an individual is deemed more accomplished than another if and only if she has achieved more benchmarks, or important accomplishments. We show that benchmark rules are characterized by four axioms: transitivity, monotonicity, incomparability of marginal gains, and incomparability of marginal losses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-504
Number of pages20
JournalTheoretical Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Christopher P. Chambers: Alan D. Miller: The authors would like to thank the Co-editor and three referees, as well as Peter Sudhölter for pointing out a mistake in an earlier draft of the manuscript, Larry Samuelson, Ella Segev, Matthew Spitzer, and participants at the Ben Gurion University, the University of Illinois, New York University–Abu Dhabi, the University of Manchester, the University of Lausanne, the University of Southern Denmark, the Paris School of Economics, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Hawaii, Korea University, the 2016 North American Summer Meeting of the Econometric Society, the Thirteenth Meeting of the Society for Social Choice and Welfare, and the 28th Stony Brook International Conference on Game Theory for their comments, and the Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law for research support. Christopher Chambers acknowledges support through NSF Grant SES-1426867.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2018 The Authors.


  • Benchmarking
  • apples and oranges
  • axioms
  • closure operator
  • homomorphisms
  • incompleteness
  • measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)


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