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Rationality of Belief Or: Why Savage's axioms are neither necessary nor sufficient for rationality, Second Version

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Author Info

  • Itzhak Gilboa

    ()
    (Tel-Aviv University, HEC, and Cowles Foundation, Yale University)

  • Andrew Postlewaite

    ()
    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • David Schmeidler

    ()
    (Tel-Aviv University and Ohio State University)

Abstract

Economic theory reduces the concept of rationality to internal consistency. The practice of economics, however, distinguishes between rational and irrational beliefs. There is therefore an interest in a theory of rational beliefs, and of the process by which beliefs are generated and justified. We argue that the Bayesian approach is unsatisfactory for this purpose, for several reasons. First, the Bayesian approach begins with a prior, and models only a very limited form of learning, namely, Bayesian updating. Thus, it is inherently incapable of describing the formation of prior beliefs. Second, there are many situations in which there is not sufficient information for an individual to generate a Bayesian prior. It follows that the Bayesian approach is neither sufficient not necessary for the rationality of beliefs.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 07-001.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2004
Date of revision: 03 Jan 2007
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:07-001

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Keywords: Decision making; Bayesian; Behavioral Economics;

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  1. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 896, David K. Levine.
  2. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  3. Mukerji, Sujoy, 1998. "Ambiguity Aversion and Incompleteness of Contractual Form," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1207-31, December.
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  7. Enriqueta Aragones & Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew Postlewaite & David Schmeidler, 2005. "Fact-Free Learning," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1355-1368, December.
  8. Machina, Mark J & Schmeidler, David, 1992. "A More Robust Definition of Subjective Probability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 745-80, July.
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  10. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 2003. "Robust control of forward-looking models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 581-604, April.
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  12. Larry G. Epstein & Martin Schneider, 2001. "Recursive Multiple-Priors," RCER Working Papers 485, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  13. Blume, Lawrence & Brandenburger, Adam & Dekel, Eddie, 1991. "Lexicographic Probabilities and Choice under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 61-79, January.
  14. Mailath George J. & Okuno-Fujiwara Masahiro & Postlewaite Andrew, 1993. "Belief-Based Refinements in Signalling Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 241-276, August.
  15. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2005. "The Case for Mindless Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 784828000000000581, David K. Levine.
  16. Paolo Ghirardato, 2002. "Revisiting Savage in a conditional world," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 83-92.
  17. Nishimura, Kiyohiko G. & Ozaki, Hiroyuki, 2004. "Search and Knightian uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 299-333, December.
  18. Epstein Larry G. & Wang Tan, 1995. "Uncertainty, Risk-Neutral Measures and Security Price Booms and Crashes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 40-82, October.
  19. Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 571-87, May.
  20. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 2001. "Acknowledging Misspecification in Macroeconomic Theory," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(3), pages 519-535, July.
  21. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew Postlewaite & David Schmeidler, 2007. "Probability and Uncertainty in Economic Modeling, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 08-002, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 28 Jan 2008.
  2. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2005. "Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange," 2005 Meeting Papers 234, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Tigran Melkonyan & Mark Pingle, 2010. "Ambiguity, pessimism, and rational religious choice," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 69(3), pages 417-438, September.
  4. Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew Postlewaite & David Schmeidler, 2007. "Probabilities in Economic Modeling," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000357, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Itzhak Gilboa & Offer Lieberman & David Schmeidler, 2007. "On the Definition of Objective Probabilities by Empirical Similarity," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000363, UCLA Department of Economics.

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