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Symmetry of evidence without evidence of symmetry

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  • Epstein, Larry G.

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Boston University)

  • Seo, Kyoungwon

    ()
    (Department of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences, Northwestern University)

Abstract

The de Finetti Theorem is a cornerstone of the Bayesian approach. Bernardo (1996) writes that its "message is very clear: if a sequence of observations is judged to be exchangeable, then any subset of them must be regarded as a random sample from some model, and there exists a prior distribution on the parameter of such model, hence requiring a Bayesian approach." We argue that while exchangeability, interpreted as symmetry of evidence, is a weak assumption, when combined with subjective expected utility theory, it implies also complete confidence that experiments are identical. When evidence is sparse, and there is little evidence of symmetry, this implication of de Finetti's hypotheses is not intuitive. This motivates our adoption of multiple-priors utility as the benchmark model of preference. We provide two alternative generalizations of the de Finetti Theorem for this framework. A model of updating is also provided.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Theoretical Economics.

Volume (Year): 5 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:the:publsh:596

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Web page: http://econtheory.org

Related research

Keywords: Ambiguity; exchangeability; symmetry; updating; learning; multiple-priors;

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  1. Mongin, P., . "Consistent Bayesian aggregation," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1176, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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Cited by:
  1. Luciano Castro & Alain Chateauneuf, 2011. "Ambiguity aversion and trade," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 243-273, October.
  2. Nabil I. Al-Najjar & Luciano De Castro, 2010. "Prediction Markets to Forecast Electricity Demand," Discussion Papers 1529, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Simone Cerreia-Vioglio & Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & Luigi Montrucchio, 2011. "Ambiguity and Robust Statistics," Working Papers 382, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  4. Al-Najjar, Nabil I. & De Castro, Luciano, 2014. "Parametric representation of preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 642-667.
  5. Larry G. Epstein & Kyoungwon Seo, 2013. "De Finetti Meets Ellsberg," CIRANO Working Papers 2013s-35, CIRANO.
  6. Epstein, Larry G. & Halevy, Yoram, 2014. "No Two Experiments are Identical," Microeconomics.ca working papers yoram_halevy-2014-9, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 04 Aug 2014.
  7. repec:bos:wpaper:wp2013-001 is not listed on IDEAS

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