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A Rehabilitation of the Principle of Insufficient Reason

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  • Sinn, Hans-Werner

Abstract

It is shown that two of the axioms necessary for the expected utility rule imply the Principle of Insufficient Reason. Whenever a decision maker knows the possible states of the world, but completely lacks information about the plausibility of each single state, he has to behave as if all states occurred with the same objective probability, known with certainty. The result is applied to decision trees and used to solve a problem formulated by Savage in order to discredit the classical version of the Principle of Insufficient Reason.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 19914.

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Date of creation: 1980
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Publication status: Published in The Quarterly Journal of Economics 3 94(1980): pp. 493
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:19914

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Cited by:
  1. Keith Dougherty & Julian Edward, 2012. "Voting for Pareto optimality: a multidimensional analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 655-678, June.
  2. Claire Crawford & Lorraine Dearden & Ellen Greaves, 2013. "Identifying the drivers of month of birth differences in educational attainment," IFS Working Papers W13/09, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Alex Possajennikov, 2012. "Belief Formation in a Signalling Game without Common Prior: An Experiment," Discussion Papers 2012-06, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  4. Claire Crawford & Lorraine Dearden & Ellen Greaves, 2013. "Identifying the drivers of month of birth differences in educational attainment," DoQSS Working Papers 13-07, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.
  5. Fontini, Fulvio & Umgiesser, Georg & Vergano, Lucia, 2010. "The role of ambiguity in the evaluation of the net benefits of the MOSE system in the Venice lagoon," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(10), pages 1964-1972, August.
  6. Ali Ahmed & Göran Skogh, 2006. "Choices at various levels of uncertainty: An experimental test of the restated diversification theorem," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 183-196, December.
  7. Singer, Marcos & Donoso, Patricio & Rodríguez-Sickert, Carlos, 2008. "A static model of cooperation for group-based incentive plans," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 492-501, October.
  8. Susan Stratton Sayre & Rachel Goodhue & Leo Simon, . "Probabilistic Political Viability: A Methodology for Predictive Political Economy," Working Papers 2012-01, Smith College, Department of Economics.
  9. Drouvelis, Michalis & Müller, Wieland & Possajennikov, Alex, 2012. "Signaling without a common prior: Results on experimental equilibrium selection," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 102-119.
  10. Camilla Froyn, 2005. "Decision Criteria, Scientific Uncertainty, and the Globalwarming Controversy," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 183-211, April.
  11. Krakel, Matthias, 2000. "Relative deprivation in rank-order tournaments," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 385-407, July.
  12. Maarten Janssen, 2001. "Rationalizing Focal Points," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 119-148, March.

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