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Profiling Problems With Partially Identified Structure


  • William A. Brock


This article studies two classes of profiling problems where the relevant structural inputs to the problems may be only partially identified: that where profilees are not 'strategic' in altering their characteristics and that where profilees strategically alter their characteristics at a cost. The analysis is unified by assuming there is a utilitarian planner that attempts to optimise the sum of welfare. We compare maximin solutions and minimax-regret solutions in two contexts. An unexpected feature of the minimax-regret solution is that a minimax-regret planner may end up learning unknown features of the population it faces rather quickly relative to a maximin planner. Copyright 2006 The Author(s). Journal compilation Royal Economic Society 2006.

Suggested Citation

  • William A. Brock, 2006. "Profiling Problems With Partially Identified Structure," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(515), pages 427-440, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:116:y:2006:i:515:p:f427-f440

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Truman F. Bewley, 1987. "Knightian Decision Theory, Part II. Intertemporal Problems," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 835, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    2. Truman F. Bewley, 1986. "Knightian Decision Theory: Part 1," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 807, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brock, William A. & Durlauf, Steven N. & Nason, James M. & Rondina, Giacomo, 2007. "Simple versus optimal rules as guides to policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(5), pages 1372-1396, July.
    2. Stoye, Jörg, 2012. "Minimax regret treatment choice with covariates or with limited validity of experiments," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 166(1), pages 138-156.
    3. Iverson, Terrence, 2013. "Minimax regret discounting," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 598-608.
    4. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 2015. "On Sturdy Policy Evaluation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(S2), pages 447-473.
    5. Charles F. Manski, 2006. "Search Profiling With Partial Knowledge of Deterrence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(515), pages 385-401, November.
    6. Iverson, Terrence, 2012. "Communicating Trade-offs amid Controversial Science: Decision Support for Climate Policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 74-90.
    7. William A. Brock & Charles F. Manski, 2008. "Competitive Lending with Partial Knowledge of Loan Repayment," NBER Working Papers 14378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Stoye, Jörg, 2009. "Minimax regret treatment choice with finite samples," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 151(1), pages 70-81, July.
    9. Brock, William A. & Cooley, Jane & Durlauf, Steven N. & Navarro, Salvador, 2012. "On the observational implications of taste-based discrimination in racial profiling," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 166(1), pages 66-78.
    10. Brock,W.A. & Durlauf,S.N., 2004. "Macroeconomics and model uncertainty," Working papers 20, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.

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