How common are common priors?
To answer the question in the title we vary agentsʼ beliefs against the background of a fixed knowledge space, that is, a state space with a partition for each agent. Beliefs are the posterior probabilities of agents, which we call type profiles. We then ask what is the topological size of the set of consistent type profiles, those that are derived from a common prior (or a common improper prior in the case of an infinite state space). The answer depends on what we term the tightness of the partition profile. A partition profile is tight if in some state it is common knowledge that any increase of any single agentʼs knowledge results in an increase in common knowledge. We show that for partition profiles that are tight the set of consistent type profiles is topologically large, while for partition profiles that are not tight this set is topologically small.
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- John C. Harsanyi, 1967. "Games with Incomplete Information Played by "Bayesian" Players, I-III Part I. The Basic Model," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(3), pages 159-182, November.
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- Samet, Dov, 1998. "Iterated Expectations and Common Priors," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 131-141, July.
- Rodrigues-Neto, José Alvaro, 2009. "From posteriors to priors via cycles," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(2), pages 876-883, March.
- Nyarko, Yaw, 1991. "Most Games Violate the Harsanyi Doctrine," Working Papers 91-39, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
- Yaw Nyarko, 2010. "Most games violate the common priors doctrine," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 6(1), pages 189-194.
- Faruk Gul, 1998. "A Comment on Aumann's Bayesian View," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 923-928, July.
- Robert J. Aumann, 1998. "Common Priors: A Reply to Gul," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 929-938, July.
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