Decomposable Choice Under Uncertainty
AbstractSavage motivated his Sure Thing Principle by arguing that, whenever an act would be preferred if an event obtains and preferred if that event did not obtain, then it should be preferred overall. The idea that it should be possible to decompose and recompose decision problems in this way has normative appeal. We show, however, that it does not require the full separability across events implicit in Savage's axiom. We formulate a weaker axiom that suffices for decomposability, and show that this implies an implicit additive representation. Our decomposability property makes local necessary conditions for optimality, globally sufficient. Thus, it is useful in computing optimal acts. It also enables Nash behavior in games of incomplete information to be decentralized to the agent-normal form. None of these results rely on probabilistic sophistication; indeed, our axiom is consistent with the Ellsberg paradox. If we assume probabilistic sophistication, however, then the axiom holds if and only if the agent's induced preferences over lotteries satisfy betweenness.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1207.
Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Jan 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Theory (2000), 92(2): 169-197
Note: CFP 998.
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Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/
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Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Other versions of this item:
- D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
- D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
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