IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Is Probability Theory Relevant for Uncertainty? A Post Keynesian Perspective

  • Paul Davidson

Mainstream perspectives involving uncertainty presume that expectations are based on either a statistical analysis of past data, with market signals providing information about objective probabilities, or on subjective perceptions of these probabilities founded on the axioms of expected utility theory. Post Keynesians, following Keynes, have developed a different perspective, where probability distributions are not the basis for comprehending real world behavior under uncertainty. According to this analysis, there are many important situations where "true" uncertainty exists regarding future consequences of today's choices. Whenever conditions of true uncertainty prevail, human behavior may differ systematically from what is implied by the standard expected utility perspective. This paper explains how the Post Keynesian perspective differs from the orthodox probability theory approach, thereby providing a more general theory which can explain long-run decisions regarding liquidity demands, investment decisions, the existence of long period underemployment equilibrium, the long-run nonneutrality of money, and the unique and important role Keynes assigned to nominal contracts and especially the money wage contract.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.5.1.129
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 5 (1991)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 129-143

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:5:y:1991:i:1:p:129-43
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.5.1.129
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/jep/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Tony Lawson, 1988. "Probability and Uncertainty in Economic Analysis," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 11(1), pages 38-65, October.
  2. Machina, Mark J, 1987. "Choice under Uncertainty: Problems Solved and Unsolved," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 121-54, Summer.
  3. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1981. "Tobin and Monetarism: A Review Article," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 558-67, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:5:y:1991:i:1:p:129-43. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)

or (Michael P. Albert)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.