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Inductive reasoning about unawareness


  • Simon Grant


  • John Quiggin



We develop a model of games with awareness that allows for differential levels of awareness. We show that, for the standard modal-logical interpretations of belief and awareness, a player cannot believe there exist propositions of which he is unaware. Nevertheless, we argue that a boundedly rational individual may regard the possibility that there exist propositions of which she is unaware as being supported by inductive reasoning, based on past experience and consideration of the limited awareness of others. In this paper, we provide a formal representation of inductive reasoning in the context of a dynamic game with differential awareness. We show that, given differential awareness over time and between players, individuals can derive inductive support for propositions expressing their own unawareness. We consider the ecological rationality of heuristics to guide decisions in problems involving differential awareness. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Grant & John Quiggin, 2013. "Inductive reasoning about unawareness," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 54(3), pages 717-755, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:54:y:2013:i:3:p:717-755 DOI: 10.1007/s00199-012-0734-y

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Heifetz, Aviad & Meier, Martin & Schipper, Burkhard C., 2013. "Dynamic unawareness and rationalizable behavior," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 50-68.
    2. Grant, Simon & Quiggin, John, 2013. "Bounded awareness, heuristics and the Precautionary Principle," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 17-31.
    3. Spyros Galanis, 2011. "Syntactic foundations for unawareness of theorems," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 71(4), pages 593-614, October.
    4. Gollier, Christian & Jullien, Bruno & Treich, Nicolas, 2000. "Scientific progress and irreversibility: an economic interpretation of the 'Precautionary Principle'," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 229-253, February.
    5. Grant, Simon & Quiggin, John, 2008. "Bounded Rationality and Small Worlds," Risk and Sustainable Management Group Working Papers 151187, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
    6. Halpern, Joseph Y. & Rego, Leandro Chaves, 2008. "Interactive unawareness revisited," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 232-262, January.
    7. Halpern, Joseph Y. & Rêgo, Leandro C., 2009. "Reasoning about knowledge of unawareness," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 503-525, November.
    8. Heifetz, Aviad & Meier, Martin & Schipper, Burkhard C., 2006. "Interactive unawareness," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 78-94, September.
    9. Modica, Salvatore & Rustichini, Aldo, 1999. "Unawareness and Partitional Information Structures," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 265-298, May.
    10. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 1994. "A Course in Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650401, July.
    11. Simon Grant & John Quiggin, 2005. "Learning and Discovery," Risk & Uncertainty Working Papers WP7R05, Risk and Sustainable Management Group, University of Queensland.
    12. repec:ecl:ucdeco:09-10 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Eddie Dekel & Barton L. Lipman & Aldo Rustichini, 1998. "Standard State-Space Models Preclude Unawareness," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(1), pages 159-174, January.
    14. Leandro Rêgo & Joseph Halpern, 2012. "Generalized solution concepts in games with possibly unaware players," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 41(1), pages 131-155, February.
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    More about this item


    Unawareness; Bounded rationality; Induction; D80; D82;

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design


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