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Is it Possible to Define Subjective Probabilities in Purely Behavioral Terms? A Comment on Epstein-Zhang (2001)

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  • Klaus Nehring

    () (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

Abstract

It is shown that well-behaved preference orderings may exhibit the Ellsberg paradox on the set of unambiguous events as defined by Epstein and Zhang (2001). Moreover, since such counterexamples can be constructed even when the set of unambiguous events is rich, EZ’s main representation result does not clarify satisfactorily when the proposed definition delivers probabilistic sophistication on unambiguous events. We conclude by conjecturing that these problems indicate the existence of inherent limitations of a strictly behavioral approach to identifying probabilistic beliefs in the presence of ambiguity, rather than deficiencies in EZ’s implementation of that approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Klaus Nehring, 2006. "Is it Possible to Define Subjective Probabilities in Purely Behavioral Terms? A Comment on Epstein-Zhang (2001)," Economics Working Papers 0067, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:ads:wpaper:0067
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Ghirardato, Paolo & Marinacci, Massimo, 2002. "Ambiguity Made Precise: A Comparative Foundation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 251-289, February.
    3. Klaus Nehring, 2006. "Decision-Making in the Context of Imprecise Probabilistic Beliefs," Economics Working Papers 0034, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
    4. Epstein, Larry G & Zhang, Jiankang, 2001. "Subjective Probabilities on Subjectively Unambiguous Events," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 265-306, March.
    5. Kopylov, Igor, 2007. "Subjective probabilities on "small" domains," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 236-265, March.
    6. Epstein, Larry G. & Schneider, Martin, 2003. "Recursive multiple-priors," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 1-31, November.
    7. Jiankang Zhang, 2002. "Subjective ambiguity, expected utility and Choquet expected utility," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 20(1), pages 159-181.
    8. Nehring, Klaus, 1999. "Capacities and probabilistic beliefs: a precarious coexistence," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 197-213, September.
    9. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
    10. Ghirardato, Paolo & Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo, 2004. "Differentiating ambiguity and ambiguity attitude," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 133-173, October.
    11. Amarante, Massimiliano & Filiz, Emel, 2007. "Ambiguous events and maxmin expected utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 1-33, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Klibanoff & Massimo Marinacci & Sujoy Mukerji, 2011. "Definitions of ambiguous events and the smooth ambiguity model," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 48(2), pages 399-424, October.
    2. Simone Cerreia-Vioglio & Paolo Ghirardato & Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & Marciano Siniscalchi, 2011. "Rational preferences under ambiguity," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 48(2), pages 341-375, October.
    3. Xiangyu Qu, 2015. "Purely subjective extended Bayesian models with Knightian unambiguity," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 79(4), pages 547-571, December.

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