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Foundations of ambiguity and economic modeling

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  • Sujoy Mukerji

Abstract

Are foundations of models of ambiguity-sensitive preferences too flawed to be usefully applied to economic models?� Al-Najjar and Weinstein (2009) say such is indeed the case.� In this paper, first, we point out that many of the key arguments by Al-Najjar and Weinstein do not apply to quite a few of the ambiguity preference models of more recent vintage, and therefore to that extent do not undermine the foundational aspects or applicability of ambiguity models in general.� Second, we argue the focus in that paper on Ellsberg examples is an overly narrow concern; the Ellsberg examples have their uses but they are not the best context to understand why reasonable real-world agents may find acting with ambiguity-sensitive preferences normatively or prescriptively appealing.� Finally, normative considerations aside, we submit that Al-Najjar and Weinstein are unduly dismissive of the power of such preferences to provide illuminating positive analyses of economic phenomena.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 433.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2009
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:433

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Keywords: Ambiguity; Uncertainty; Knightian uncertainty; Ambiguity aversion; Uncertainty aversion; Ellsberg paradox; Dynamic decision making; Dynamic programming under ambiguity; Smooth ambiguity; Consequentialism; Sunk cost fallacy; Multiple priors; Rationaltiy;

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  1. Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo & Rustichini, Aldo, 2006. "Dynamic variational preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 128(1), pages 4-44, May.
  2. Al-Najjar, Nabil I. & Weinstein, Jonathan, 2009. "The Ambiguity Aversion Literature: A Critical Assessment," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(03), pages 249-284, November.
  3. Larry G. Epstein & Martin Schneider, 2001. "Recursive Multiple-Priors," RCER Working Papers 485, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. Klibanoff, Peter & Hanany, Eran, 2007. "Updating preferences with multiple priors," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(3), September.
  5. Sujoy Mukerji & Jean-Marc Tallon, 2003. "An overview of economic applications of David Schmeidler`s models of decision making under uncertainty," Economics Series Working Papers 165, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Klibanoff, Peter & Marinacci, Massimo & Mukerji, Sujoy, 2009. "Recursive smooth ambiguity preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 930-976, May.
  7. Sujoy Mukerji & Peter Klibanoff, 2002. "A Smooth Model of Decision,Making Under Ambiguity," Economics Series Working Papers 113, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. I. Gilboa & A. W. Postlewaite & D. Schmeidler., 2009. "Probability and Uncertainty in Economic Modeling," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 10.
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Cited by:
  1. Massimo Guidolin & Francesca Rinaldi, 2011. "Ambiguity in Asset Pricing and Portfolio Choice: A Review of the Literature," Working Papers 417, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.

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