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Undescribable Events

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Author Info

  • Nabil I. Al-Najjar
  • Luca Anderlini
  • Leonardo Felli

Abstract

We develop a model of undescribable events. Examples of events that are well understood by economic agents but are prohibitively difficult to describe in advance abound in real-life. This notion has also pervaded a substantial amount of economic literature. We put forth a model of such events using a simple co-insurance problem as backdrop. Undescribable events in our model are understood by economic agents - their consequences and probabilities are known - but are such that every finite description of such events necessarily leaves out relevant features that have a non-negligible impact on the parties’ expected utilities. We also show that two key ingredients of our model - probabilities that are finitely additive but fail countable additivity, and a state space that is small (discrete in our model) in a measure-theoretic sense -are necessary ingredients of any model of undescribable events that delivers our results.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2003/wp-cesifo-2003-11/cesifo1_wp1092.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1092.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1092

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Keywords: undescribable events; incomplete contracts; finite invariance; fine variability;

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References

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  1. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
  2. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli & Andrew Postlewaite, 2001. "Courts of Law and Unforeseen Contingencies," PIER Working Paper Archive 06-001, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Jan 2006.
  3. Segal, Ilya, 1999. "Complexity and Renegotiation: A Foundation for Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 57-82, January.
  4. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 95-8, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, . "Power in a Theory of the Firm," CRSP working papers 335, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  6. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Giovanni Maggi, 2002. "Rigidity, Discretion, and the Costs of Writing Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 798-817, September.
  7. Anderlini, L. & Felli, L., 1993. "Incomplete Written Contracts: Undescribable States of Nature," Papers 183, Cambridge - Risk, Information & Quantity Signals.
  8. Nabil J Al-Najjar & Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli, 2002. "Unforeseen Contingencies," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 431, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  9. Mark Machina, 2004. "Almost-objective uncertainty," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 1-54, 07.
  10. Al-Najjar, Nabil I. & Casadesus-Masanell, Ramon & Ozdenoren, Emre, 2003. "Probabilistic representation of complexity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 111(1), pages 49-87, July.
  11. Partha Dasgupta & Douglas Gale & Oliver Hart & Eric Maskin (ed.), 1992. "Economic Analysis of Markets and Games: Essays in Honor of Frank Hahn," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262541599, December.
  12. Dekel, Eddie & Lipman, Barton L. & Rustichini, Aldo, 1998. "Recent developments in modeling unforeseen contingencies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 523-542, May.
  13. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Sarah Auster, 2011. "Asymmetric Awareness and Moral Hazard," Economics Working Papers ECO2011/, European University Institute.
  2. Al-Najjar, Nabil I., 2008. "Large games and the law of large numbers," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 1-34, September.
  3. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli, 2000. "Bounded rationality and incomplete contracts," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3582, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Luca Anderlini, Leonardo Felli & Andrew Postlewaite, 2003. "Courts of Law and Unforeseen Contingencies," Working Papers gueconwpa~03-03-26, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  5. Kumabe, Masahiro & Mihara, H. Reiju, 2011. "Computability of simple games: A complete investigation of the sixty-four possibilities," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 150-158, March.
  6. David A. Miller & Kareen Rozen, 2011. "Optimally Empty Promises and Endogenous Supervision," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000270, David K. Levine.
  7. Matthias Lang, 2012. "Communicating Subjective Evaluations," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012_14, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Mar 2014.

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