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Bayesian Updating for General Maxmin Expected Utility Preferences

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  • Marciano Siniscalchi

Abstract

A characterization of “generalized Bayesian updating” in a maxmin expected utility setting is provided. The key axioms are consequentialism and constant-act dynamic consistency. The latter requires that, if an arbitrary act f is preferred (inferior) to a constant act y conditional upon E, and if f dominates (is dominated by) y pointwise on the complementary event Ec, then f is unconditionally preferred (inferior) to y. The result provides a basis for a model of dynamic choice that accommodates arbitrary unconditional maxmin EU preferences, and allows for deviations from full dynamic consistency related to ambiguity. Standard Expected Utility (EU) preferences are separable across events. In a static setting, the notion of separability is formalized by Savage’s Postulate P2 (the “Sure-Thing Principle”). In a dynamic framework, separability corresponds to dynamic consistency: if the decision maker would prefer some course of action to another if she learned that some event has obtained, and also if she learned that the same event has not obtained, then she should prefer it even prior to learning whether or not the event in question has obtained. As is well-known, P2 and dynamic consistency are closely related (see e.g. Ghirardato, 2001). In a static setting, Ellsberg (1961) demonstrates that separability may fail if the decision maker perceives some ambiguity in the relative likelihood of events. Thus, in a dynamic setting, it is at least plausible to expect some tension between ambiguity and dynamic consistency. Recent experimental evidence (Cohen et al., 2000) based on a dynamic version of the single-urn Ellsberg example seems to indicate that ambiguity may indeed lead to violations of dynamic consistency.

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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1366.

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Date of creation: Sep 2001
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1366

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  1. Epstein, Larry G & Zhang, Jiankang, 2001. "Subjective Probabilities on Subjectively Unambiguous Events," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 265-306, March.
  2. Myerson, Roger B, 1986. "Multistage Games with Communication," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 323-58, March.
  3. Epstein, L.G. & Zhang, J., 1998. "Subjective Probabilities on Subjectivity Unambiguous Event," RCER Working Papers 456, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. Gilboa Itzhak & Schmeidler David, 1993. "Updating Ambiguous Beliefs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 33-49, February.
  5. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  6. Epstein, Larry G. & Schneider, Martin, 2003. "Recursive multiple-priors," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 1-31, November.
  7. David Schmeidler, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7662, David K. Levine.
  8. Peter Klibanoff, 2001. "Stochastically independent randomization and uncertainty aversion," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 605-620.
  9. Cohen, M. & Gilboa, I. & Jaffray, J.Y. & Schmeidler, D., 2000. "An experimental study of updating ambiguous beliefs," Risk, Decision and Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(02), pages 123-133, June.
  10. Paolo Ghirardato & Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & Marciano Siniscalchi, 2003. "A Subjective Spin on Roulette Wheels," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1897-1908, November.
  11. Paolo Ghirardato, 2002. "Revisiting Savage in a conditional world," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 83-92.
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Cited by:
  1. Ludwig, Alexander & Zimper, Alexander, 2007. "Attitude polarization," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-66, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  2. Chambers, Robert G. & Melkonyan, Tigran, 2009. "Smoothing preference kinks with information," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 173-189, September.
  3. Faro, José Heleno & Lefort, Jean Philippe, 2013. "Dynamic Objective and Subjective Rationality," Insper Working Papers wpe_312, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
  4. Marciano Siniscalchi, 2003. "A Behavioral Characterization of Plausible Priors," Levine's Bibliography 234936000000000064, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Marciano Siniscalchi, 2006. "Dynamic Choice Under Ambiguity," Discussion Papers 1430, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Paolo Ghirardato & Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci, 2002. "Ambiguity from the Differential Viewpoint," ICER Working Papers - Applied Mathematics Series 17-2002, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.

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