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Parametric representation of preferences


  • Al-Najjar, Nabil I.
  • De Castro, Luciano


A preference is invariant with respect to a set of transformations if the ranking of acts is unaffected by reshuffling the states under these transformations. For example, transformations may correspond to the set of finite permutations, or the shift in a dynamic choice model. Our main result is that any invariant preference must be parametric: there is a unique sufficient set of parameters such that the preference ranks acts according to their expected utility given the parameters. Parameters are characterized in terms of objective frequencies, and can thus be interpreted as objective probabilities. By contrast, uncertainty about parameters is subjective. The preferences for which the above results hold are only required to be reflexive, transitive, monotone, continuous, and mixture linear.

Suggested Citation

  • Al-Najjar, Nabil I. & De Castro, Luciano, 2014. "Parametric representation of preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 642-667.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:150:y:2014:i:c:p:642-667 DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2013.12.006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tomasz Strzalecki, 2011. "Axiomatic Foundations of Multiplier Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(1), pages 47-73, January.
    2. Cerreia-Vioglio, S. & Maccheroni, F. & Marinacci, M. & Montrucchio, L., 2011. "Uncertainty averse preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(4), pages 1275-1330, July.
    3. Epstein, Larry G. & Seo, Kyoungwon, 2010. "Symmetry of evidence without evidence of symmetry," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5(3), September.
    4. Robert F. Nau, 2006. "Uncertainty Aversion with Second-Order Utilities and Probabilities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(1), pages 136-145, January.
    5. Chew, Soo Hong & Sagi, Jacob S., 2008. "Small worlds: Modeling attitudes toward sources of uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 139(1), pages 1-24, March.
    6. Paolo Ghirardato & Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & Marciano Siniscalchi, 2003. "A Subjective Spin on Roulette Wheels," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1897-1908, November.
    7. Itzhak Gilboa & Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & David Schmeidler, 2010. "Objective and Subjective Rationality in a Multiple Prior Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(2), pages 755-770, March.
    8. Peter Klibanoff & Massimo Marinacci & Sujoy Mukerji, 2005. "A Smooth Model of Decision Making under Ambiguity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1849-1892, November.
    9. Cerreia-Vioglio, Simone & Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo & Montrucchio, Luigi, 2013. "Ambiguity and robust statistics," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(3), pages 974-1049.
      • Simone Cerreia-Vioglio & Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & Luigi Montrucchio, 2011. "Ambiguity and Robust Statistics," Working Papers 382, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    10. William Neilson, 2010. "A simplified axiomatic approach to ambiguity aversion," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 113-124, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Epstein, Larry G. & Halevy, Yoram, 2017. "Ambiguous Correlation," working papers yoram_halevy-2017-2, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 09 Jan 2018.
    2. Peter Klibanoff & Sujoy Mukerji & Kyoungwon Seo, 2014. "Perceived Ambiguity and Relevant Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82, pages 1945-1978, September.
    3. Epstein, Larry G. & Seo, Kyoungwon, 2015. "Exchangeable capacities, parameters and incomplete theories," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 879-917.
    4. Roee Teper, 2016. "Who is a Bayesian?," Working Paper 5861, Department of Economics, University of Pittsburgh.

    More about this item


    Decision making; Uncertainty; Parameters;

    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics


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