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Strategic Ignorance as a Self-Disciplining Device

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  • Juan D. Carrillo
  • Thomas Mariotti

Abstract

We analyse the decision of an agent with time-inconsistent preferences to consume a good that exerts an externality on future welfare. The extent of the externality is initially unknown, but may be learned via a costless sampling procedure. We show that when the agent cannot commit to future consumption and learning decisions, incomplete learning may occur on a Markov perfect equilibrium path of the resulting intra-personal game. In such a case, each agent's incarnation stops learning for some values of the posterior distribution of beliefs and acts under self-restricted information. This conduct is interpreted as strategic ignorance. All equilibria featuring this property strictly Pareto dominate the complete learning equilibrium for any posterior distribution of beliefs.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan D. Carrillo & Thomas Mariotti, 2000. "Strategic Ignorance as a Self-Disciplining Device," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 529-544.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:67:y:2000:i:3:p:529-544.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/1467-937X.00142
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