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Preference (from the Latin prae-ferre "to prefer") denotes, on the one hand, the phenomenon in economics that people always make the same selection from several selectable products or services ; on the other hand, the preference that a market participant has for something as a consumer or as an entrepreneur .


If someone generally prefers to go to the cinema than to the theater, then he prefers the cinema over the theater. The perpetuation of the voting decision is an essential element of a preference. However, it is controversial to what extent a provider is allowed to assert his preferences (for example in the form of a distinction between “desired” and “undesired” guests at the entrance to his discotheque); s. a. Price discrimination # 3rd order price differentiation: segmentation . Here domiciliary rights and non-discrimination are opposed.


In economics , individual behavior is often explained by preferences and restrictions on action. After this, individuals choose the preferred element from a given set of possible alternatives.

In addition, within the framework of the theory of the perfect market , economics knows spatial, temporal, factual and personal preferences. The lack of such preferences characterizes homogeneous goods . A perfect market is when only a homogeneous good is exchanged, there are no preferences, every market participant has complete information ( market transparency ) and can react immediately to changes in market variables.

Business administration

In business administration , too , one knows spatial, temporal, factual and personal preferences. Personal preferences include the attributes of advice , regular customers or advertising , time- related opening times or delivery times , product quality , service differences or market transparency , and spatial preferences are location advantages or the point market . These preferences affect pricing within the scope of pricing policy because a company , for which customers have at least one preference, has a so-called monopolistic area ( monopolistic competition ), in which they can vary prices without this - due to preference - affects sales. Customers are willing to give up their price sensitivity because of preferences.

Trade policy

In trade policy, tariff benefits are referred to as preferential tariff rates .


A preference strategy is a marketing strategy that focuses on creating a special brand image . If this succeeds, the sales volume of the product can rise and / or the price can be increased. There are also products for which sales increase because the price has increased (see snob effect ).


In sociology, preferences are often explained through individual socialization .

The social production function is a sociological concept of the sociologist Siegwart Lindenberg with the aim of giving an explanation for the type of preferences of people.


A number of methods have been developed to measure preferences. A basic distinction must be made between direct and indirect methods for measuring preferences. In the direct measurement of preferences, the test persons are asked immediately about their preferences for a certain alternative (e.g. a political party, a product). In contrast, with the indirect preference measurement, the subjects are not asked directly about an individual alternative, but the preferences of the subjects are calculated indirectly on the basis of, for example, selection decisions between different alternatives (e.g. several political parties, several products). The methods for measuring preferences can also be differentiated according to whether they are carried out in a hypothetical or a so-called incentive-compatible (i.e. real) context. A further distinction is made between objective, subjective and behavior-related measurement methods.

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Preference  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Horst Hanusch / Thomas Kuhn / Uwe Cantner, Volkswirtschaftslehre 1: Grundlegende Mikro- und Macroeconomics , 2000, p. 55