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A Comment on the Absent-Minded Driver Paradox

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  • Gilboa, Itzhak

Abstract

Piccione and Rubinstein 1996 present the ''absent-minded driver paradox,'' which shows that if a decision maker's information set is allowed to intersect a decision tree path in more than one node, inconsistencies may arise. Specifically, the decision maker may wish to change her choice without any ''intrinsic'' change in preferences and without receiving any new information, apart from the mere fact that she was called upon to act. I argue that decision problems can and should be formulated in such a way that information sets do not contain more than one decision node on each path. Such formulations will not be subject to the paradox. More importantly, they follow from the classical lore of decision theory. Differently put, the absent-minded driver paradox is a result of decision modeling which violates some of the basic, though often implicit, foundations of decision theory.
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  • Gilboa, Itzhak, 1997. "A Comment on the Absent-Minded Driver Paradox," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 25-30, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:20:y:1997:i:1:p:25-30
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Itzhak Gilboa, 1992. "Why the Empty Shells Were Not Fired: A Semi-Bibliographical Note," Discussion Papers 987, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    2. Piccione, Michele & Rubinstein, Ariel, 1997. "On the Interpretation of Decision Problems with Imperfect Recall," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, July.
    3. Itzhak Gilboa, 1993. "Can Free Choice Be Known?," Discussion Papers 1055, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    4. Ferreira J. -L. & Gilboa I. & Maschler M., 1995. "Credible Equilibria in Games with Utilities Changing during the Play," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 284-317, August.
    5. Bezalel Peleg & Menahem E. Yaari, 1973. "On the Existence of a Consistent Course of Action when Tastes are Changing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(3), pages 391-401.
    6. Peter J. Hammond, 1976. "Changing Tastes and Coherent Dynamic Choice," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(1), pages 159-173.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jude Kline, J., 2002. "Minimum Memory for Equivalence between Ex Ante Optimality and Time-Consistency," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 278-305, February.
    2. Steffen Huck & Wieland Müller, 2002. "Absent–Minded Drivers In The Lab: Testing Gilboa'S Model," International Game Theory Review (IGTR), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 4(04), pages 435-448.
    3. M. Levati & Matthias Uhl & Ro’i Zultan, 2014. "Imperfect recall and time inconsistencies: an experimental test of the absentminded driver “paradox”," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 43(1), pages 65-88, February.
    4. Ro’i Zultan, 2013. "Timing of messages and the Aumann conjecture: a multiple-selves approach," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 42(4), pages 789-800, November.
    5. Sudipta Sarangi & Cary Deck, 2006. "Inducing Absent-Mindedness in the Lab," Departmental Working Papers 2006-09, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    6. Piccione, Michele & Rubinstein, Ariel, 1997. "The Absent-Minded Driver's Paradox: Synthesis and Responses," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 121-130, July.
    7. Nicola Dimitri, 2009. "Dynamic consistency in extensive form decision problems," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 66(4), pages 345-354, April.
    8. Nicola Dimitri, 2005. "Dynamic Consistency in Extensive form Decision Problems," Department of Economics University of Siena 455, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    9. Stefano Ficco & Vladimir A. Karamychev, 2004. "Information Overload in Multi-Stage Selection Procedures," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-077/1, Tinbergen Institute.

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