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Ambiguity, Pessimism, and Religious Choice

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  • Tigran Melkonyan

    ()
    (Department of Resource Economics, University of Nevada, Reno)

  • Mark Pingle

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Nevada, Reno)

Abstract

Using a relatively mild restriction on the beliefs of the MMEU-apreference functional, in which the decision maker’s degree of ambiguity and degree of pessimism are each parameterized, we present a rather general theory of religious choice in the decision theory tradition, one that can resolve dilemmas, address the many Gods objection, and address the inherent ambiguity. Using comparative static analysis, we are able to show how changes in either the degree of ambiguity or the degree of pessimism can lead a decision maker to “convert” from one religion to another. We illustrate the theory of religious choice using an example where the decision maker perceives three possible religious alternatives.

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File URL: http://www.business.unr.edu/econ/wp/papers/UNRECONWP08002.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Economics & University of Nevada, Reno , Department of Resource Economics in its series Working Papers with number 08-002.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unr:wpaper:08-002

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Keywords: Religion; Decision Theory; Ambiguity; Optimism; Pessimism;

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  1. Siniscalchi, Marciano, 2006. "A behavioral characterization of plausible priors," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 128(1), pages 91-135, May.
  2. Gajdos, Thibault & Tallon, Jean-Marc & Vergnaud, Jean-Christophe, 2004. "Decision making with imprecise probabilistic information," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 647-681, September.
  3. Camerer, Colin & Weber, Martin, 1992. " Recent Developments in Modeling Preferences: Uncertainty and Ambiguity," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 325-70, October.
  4. Ghirardato, Paolo & Klibanoff, Peter & Marinacci, Massimo, 1998. "Additivity with multiple priors," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 405-420, November.
  5. Machina, Mark J & Schmeidler, David, 1992. "A More Robust Definition of Subjective Probability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 745-80, July.
  6. Ghirardato, Paolo & Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo, 2004. "Differentiating ambiguity and ambiguity attitude," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 133-173, October.
  7. Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 571-87, May.
  8. Wojciech Olszewski, 2007. "Preferences Over Sets of Lotteries -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(2), pages 567-595.
  9. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
  10. Chateauneuf, Alain & Eichberger, Jürgen & Grant, Simon, 2003. "Choice under Uncertainty with the Best and Worst in Mind: Neo-additive Capacities," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 03-10, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  11. Alexander Zimper & Alexander Ludwig, 2006. "Rational expectations and ambiguity: A comment on Abel (2002)," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(2), pages 1-15.
  12. Montgomery, James D, 1996. "Contemplations on the Economic Approach to Religious Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 443-47, May.
  13. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  14. Jürgen Eichberger & Simon Grant & David Kelsey, 2008. "Differentiating ambiguity: an expository note," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 327-336, August.
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