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Choice deferral and ambiguity aversion


  • Kopylov, Igor

    () (Department of Economics and Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences, University of California, Irvine)


When confronted with uncertain prospects, people often exhibit both choice deferral and Ellsberg-type ambiguity aversion. This paper obtains a joint representation for these behavioral phenomena. The decision maker as portrayed by my model is willing to choose an uncertain prospect f over g rather than to defer this choice if and only if the expected utility of f is greater that or equal to the expected utility of g for every probability measure in a convex and closed set Delta. This set is interpreted as a collection of the decision maker's possible future beliefs. When choices cannot be deferred, the decision maker evaluates every uncertain prospect via an epsilon-mixture of the least favorable element in the set Delta and her current probabilistic belief p in Delta. All components of my model are derived from observable preferences in an essentially unique way.

Suggested Citation

  • Kopylov, Igor, 2009. "Choice deferral and ambiguity aversion," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 4(2), June.
  • Handle: RePEc:the:publsh:498

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Özgür Evren, 2012. "Scalarization Methods and Expected Multi-Utility Representations," Working Papers w0174, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
    2. 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.
    3. Hill, Brian, 2011. "Deferral, incomplete preferences and confidence," Les Cahiers de Recherche 940, HEC Paris.
    4. Igor Kopylov, 2016. "Subjective probability, confidence, and Bayesian updating," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 62(4), pages 635-658, October.
    5. Stergios Athanassoglou, 2013. "Robust Multidimensional Welfare Comparisons: One Vector of Weights, One Vote," Working Papers 2013.40, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    6. David, McCarthy & Kalle, Mikkola, 2017. "Continuity and completeness of strongly independent preorders," MPRA Paper 79755, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Stergios Athanassoglou, 2015. "Multidimensional welfare rankings under weight imprecision: a social choice perspective," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 44(4), pages 719-744, April.
    8. Evren, Özgür, 2014. "Scalarization methods and expected multi-utility representations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 30-63.
    9. Hill, Brian, 2013. "Confidence and decision," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 675-692.
    10. Guo, Liang, 2013. "Determinants of credit spreads: The role of ambiguity and information uncertainty," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 279-297.
    11. Hill, Brian, 2016. "Incomplete preferences and confidence," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 83-103.
    12. Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Cueva, Carlos & Gerasimou, Georgios, 2014. "Choice, Deferral and Consistency," SIRE Discussion Papers 2015-17, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    13. S. Cerreia-Vioglio & A. Giarlotta & S. Greco & F. Maccheroni & M. Marinacci, 2016. "Rational Preference and Rationalizable Choice," Working Papers 589, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    14. Marcello Basili, 2013. "Ellsberg Rules and Keynes’s State of Long-Term Expectation: More Than an Accordance," Department of Economics University of Siena 685, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    15. repec:kap:theord:v:83:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11238-017-9601-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Faro, José Heleno & Lefort, Jean Philippe, 2013. "Dynamic Objective and Subjective Rationality," Insper Working Papers wpe_312, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
    17. Athanassoglou, Stergios, 2013. "Multidimensional welfare rankings," MPRA Paper 51642, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Evren, Özgür & Ok, Efe A., 2011. "On the multi-utility representation of preference relations," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4-5), pages 554-563.

    More about this item


    Choice deferral; ambiguity aversion; epsilon contamination; multiple priors model; subjective probability; Ellsberg Paradox;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness


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