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Uncertainty: A Typology and Refinements of Existing Concepts

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  • David Dequech

Abstract

The present article proposes a typology of the main varieties of uncertainty considered by economists and refines existing concepts. This typology combines three distinctions, between: substantive and procedural uncertainty; weak and strong uncertainty; and ambiguity and fundamental uncertainty. These concepts refer, or fail to refer, to factors such as: a lack of information; complexity; the (im)possibility of building probability distributions that are unique, additive and reliable; structural change; etc. When refining these concepts, the article pays special attention to the conception of social reality underlying each concept. It refers to what each concept may imply about the complexity and changeability of social reality and the limitations and creative potential of the individuals that inhabit this reality, in addition to, in some cases, the roles of institutions and the features of the process of technological change.

Suggested Citation

  • David Dequech, 2011. "Uncertainty: A Typology and Refinements of Existing Concepts," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(3), pages 621-640.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:45:y:2011:i:3:p:621-640
    DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624450306
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Aldred, Jonathan, 2013. "Justifying precautionary policies: Incommensurability and uncertainty," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 132-140.
    2. repec:spr:jbuscr:v:13:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s41549-017-0020-y is not listed on IDEAS
    3. David Dequech, 2008. "Varieties of uncertainty: a survey of the economic literature," Anais do XXXVI Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 36th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 200807211223070, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    4. Müller, Christian, 2015. "Radical uncertainty: Sources, manifestations and implications," Economics Discussion Papers 2015-41, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    5. repec:gam:jagris:v:6:y:2016:i:1:p:5:d:62486 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. David Dequech, 2016. "Some Institutions (Social Norms And Conventions) Of Contemporary Mainstream Economics, Macroeconomics, And Financial Economics," Anais do XLIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 43rd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 006, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    7. Junankar, Pramod N. (Raja), 2016. "On Measuring Uncertainty: Snakes and Ladders," IZA Discussion Papers 10244, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Strachman, Eduardo, 2016. "Notas sobre Mecanismos de Transmissão da Política Monetária
      [Some Notes on the Monetary Policy Transmission Mechanisms]
      ," MPRA Paper 72856, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Annalisa Ferrari & Piergiuseppe Morone & Valentina E. Tartiu, 2016. "Tackling Uncertainty through Business Plan Analysis—A Case Study on Citrus Waste Valorisation in the South of Italy," Agriculture, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(1), pages 1-12, January.
    10. Miguel Vazquez, 2018. "Institutional dynamics in an economy seen as a complex adaptive system," IEFE Working Papers 104, IEFE, Center for Research on Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.

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