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Estimating Bayesian Decision Problems with Heterogeneous Priors

Author

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  • Stephen Hansen
  • Michael McMahon

Abstract

In many areas of economics there is a growing interest in how expertise and preferences drive individual and group decision making under uncertainty. Increasingly, we wish to estimate such models to quantify which of these drive decision making. In this paper we propose a new channel through which we can empirically identify expertise and preference parameters by using variation in decisions over heterogeneous priors. Relative to existing estimation approaches, our "Prior-Based Identification" extends the possible environments which can be estimated, and also substantially improves the accuracy and precision of estimates in those environments which can be estimated using existing methods.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Hansen & Michael McMahon, 2013. "Estimating Bayesian Decision Problems with Heterogeneous Priors," Working Papers 683, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:683
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Iaryczower, Matias & Lewis, Garrett & Shum, Matthew, 2013. "To elect or to appoint? Bias, information, and responsiveness of bureaucrats and politicians," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 230-244.
    2. Stephen Hansen & Carlos Velasco Rivera & Michael McMahon, 2013. "How Experts Decide: Preferences or Private Assessments on a Monetary Policy Committee?," CAMA Working Papers 2013-19, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    3. Gerling, Kerstin & Gruner, Hans Peter & Kiel, Alexandra & Schulte, Elisabeth, 2005. "Information acquisition and decision making in committees: A survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 563-597, September.
    4. Matias Iaryczower & Matthew Shum, 2012. "The Value of Information in the Court: Get It Right, Keep It Tight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 202-237, February.
    5. Peter Sorensen & Marco Ottaviani, 2000. "Herd Behavior and Investment: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 695-704, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephen E. Hansen & Michael McMahon, 2011. "First Impressions Matter: Signalling as a Source of Policy Dynamics," Working Papers 572, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    2. Stephen Hansen & Michael McMahon, 2016. "First Impressions Matter: Signalling as a Source of Policy Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(4), pages 1645-1672.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bayesian decision making; expertise; preferences; estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General

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