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Thinking Ahead: The Decision Problem

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  • Patrick Bolton
  • Antoine Faure-Grimaud

Abstract

We propose a model of bounded rationality based on time-costs of deliberating current and future decisions. We model an individual decision maker%u2019s thinking process as a thought-experiment that takes time and let the decision maker %u201Cthink ahead%u201D about future decision problems in yet unrealized states of nature. By formulating an intertemporal, state-contingent, planning problem, which may involve costly deliberation in every state of nature, and by letting the decision-maker deliberate ahead of the realization of a state, we attempt to capture the basic idea that individuals generally do not think through a complete action-plan. Instead, individuals prioritize their thinking and leave deliberations on less important decisions to the time or event when they arise.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11867.

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Date of creation: Dec 2005
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Publication status: published as Patrick Bolton & Antoine Faure-Grimaud, 2009. "Thinking Ahead: The Decision Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 76(4), pages 1205-1238, October.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11867

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  1. Gabaix, Xavier & Laibson, David Isaac & Moloche, Guillermo & Stephen, Weinberg, 2003. "The allocation of attention: theory and evidence," MPRA Paper 47339, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Loewenstein, George & O'Donoghue, Ted, 2004. "Animal Spirits: Affective and Deliberative Processes in Economic Behavior," Working Papers 04-14, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  3. Rothschild, Michael, 1974. "A two-armed bandit theory of market pricing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 185-202, October.
  4. David I. Laibson & Xavier Gabaix, 2000. "A Boundedly Rational Decision Algorithm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 433-438, May.
  5. Henry, Claude, 1974. "Investment Decisions Under Uncertainty: The "Irreversibility Effect."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 1006-12, December.
  6. Conlisk, John, 1988. "Optimization cost," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 213-228, April.
  7. John Conlisk, 1996. "Why Bounded Rationality?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 669-700, June.
  8. Jeheil Phillippe, 1995. "Limited Horizon Forecast in Repeated Alternate Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 497-519, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Tirole, Jean, 2008. "Cognition and Incomplete Contracts," IDEI Working Papers 453, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. Dessi, Roberta, 2009. "Contractual Execution, Strategic Incompleteness and Venture Capital," TSE Working Papers 09-075, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  3. Dessi, Roberta, 2009. "Contractual Execution, Strategic Incompleteness and Venture Capital," IDEI Working Papers 465, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.

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