IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/arx/papers/1209.2204.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

How is non-knowledge represented in economic theory?

Author

Listed:
  • Ekaterina Svetlova

    (Karlshochschule International University)

  • Henk van Elst

    (Karlshochschule International University)

Abstract

In this article, we address the question of how non-knowledge about future events that influence economic agents' decisions in choice settings has been formally represented in economic theory up to date. To position our discussion within the ongoing debate on uncertainty, we provide a brief review of historical developments in economic theory and decision theory on the description of economic agents' choice behaviour under conditions of uncertainty, understood as either (i) ambiguity, or (ii) unawareness. Accordingly, we identify and discuss two approaches to the formalisation of non-knowledge: one based on decision-making in the context of a state space representing the exogenous world, as in Savage's axiomatisation and some successor concepts (ambiguity as situations with unknown probabilities), and one based on decision-making over a set of menus of potential future opportunities, providing the possibility of derivation of agents' subjective state spaces (unawareness as situation with imperfect subjective knowledge of all future events possible). We also discuss impeding challenges of the formalisation of non-knowledge.

Suggested Citation

  • Ekaterina Svetlova & Henk van Elst, 2012. "How is non-knowledge represented in economic theory?," Papers 1209.2204, arXiv.org.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1209.2204
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1209.2204
    File Function: Latest version
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. I. Gilboa & A. W. Postlewaite & D. Schmeidler., 2009. "Probability and Uncertainty in Economic Modeling," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 10.
    2. D. COLANDER & al., 2010. "The Financial Crisis and the Systemic Failure of Academic Economics," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 6.
    3. Larry G. Epstein & Martin Schneider, 2010. "Ambiguity and Asset Markets," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 315-346, December.
    4. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent & Thomas D. Tallarini, 1999. "Robust Permanent Income and Pricing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(4), pages 873-907.
    5. Heifetz, Aviad & Meier, Martin & Schipper, Burkhard C., 2008. "A canonical model for interactive unawareness," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, pages 304-324.
    6. Donald MacKenzie, 2006. "An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262134608, January.
    7. Dequech, David, 2006. "The new institutional economics and the theory of behaviour under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 109-131, January.
    8. Stephen John Nash, 2003. "On pragmatic Philosophy and Knightian uncertainty," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 61(2), pages 251-272.
    9. Jean-Pierre Zigrand & Hyun Song Shin & Jon Danielsson, 2010. "Risk Appetite and Endogenous Risk," FMG Discussion Papers dp647, Financial Markets Group.
    10. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2002. "Information and the Change in the Paradigm in Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 460-501, June.
    11. J. M. Keynes, 1937. "The General Theory of Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 209-223.
    12. Beckert, Jens, 2000. "Economic sociology in Germany," economic sociology_the european electronic newsletter, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, vol. 1(2), pages 2-7.
    13. Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew Postlewaite & David Schmeidler, 2007. "Probabilities in Economic Modeling," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000357, UCLA Department of Economics.
    14. Marco Crocco, 2002. "The concept of degrees of uncertainty in Keynes, Shackle, and Davidson," Nova Economia, Economics Department, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), vol. 12(2), pages 11-28, July-Dece.
    15. Epstein, Larry G & Wang, Tan, 1994. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing Under Knightian Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 283-322, March.
    16. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
    17. Paul Davidson, 1991. "Is Probability Theory Relevant for Uncertainty? A Post Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 129-143, Winter.
    18. Luca Rigotti & Chris Shannon, 2005. "Uncertainty and Risk in Financial Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, pages 203-243.
    19. George A. Akerlof, 2009. "How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why It Matters," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1175-1175.
    20. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 2003. "Robust control of forward-looking models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 581-604, April.
    21. Blume, Lawrence & Easley, David & Halpern, Joseph Y., 2009. "Constructive Decision Theory," Economics Series 246, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    22. Gilboa,Itzhak, 2009. "Theory of Decision under Uncertainty," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521741231, November.
    23. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213-213.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Diane Wilcox & Tim Gebbie, 2013. "Factorising equity returns in an emerging market through exogenous shocks and capital flows," Papers 1306.5302, arXiv.org, revised Jul 2013.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1209.2204. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (arXiv administrators). General contact details of provider: http://arxiv.org/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.