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How (Not) to Do Decision Theory

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  • Eddie Dekel
  • Barton L. Lipman

Abstract

We discuss the goals and means of positive decision theory and the implications for how to do decision theory. We argue that the goal of positive economic theory generally is to provide predictions and understanding and that representation theorems and other results of decision theory should be seen as ways to achieve these goals. We also argue that the interpretation of a model is relevant to whether and how we use the model, that psychological considerations are not necessary for useful decision theory but can be helpful, and that nonchoice data, interpreted properly, can be valuable in predicting choice and therefore should not be ignored.
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Suggested Citation

  • Eddie Dekel & Barton L. Lipman, 2009. "How (Not) to Do Decision Theory," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000339, David K. Levine.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:814577000000000339
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    Cited by:

    1. Minardi, Stefania & Savochkin, Andrei, 2015. "Preferences with grades of indecisiveness," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 300-331.
    2. Simone Cerreia-Vioglio & David Dillenberger & Pietro Ortoleva, 2018. "An Explicit Representation for Disappointment Aversion and Other Betweenness Preferences," PIER Working Paper Archive 18-019, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Sep 2018.
    3. Horan, Sean, 2016. "A simple model of two-stage choice," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 372-406.
    4. Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew Postlewaite & Larry Samuelson & David Schmeidler, 2019. "What are axiomatizations good for?," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 86(3), pages 339-359, May.
    5. David Dillenberger & Andrew Postlewaite & Kareen Rozen, 2017. "Optimism and Pessimism with Expected Utility," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(5), pages 1158-1175.
    6. Rohan Dutta & Sean Horan, 2015. "Inferring Rationales from Choice: Identification for Rational Shortlist Methods," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 179-201, November.
    7. David Dillenberger & Andrew Postlewaite & Kareen Rozen, 2011. "Optimism and Pessimism with Expected Utility, Fourth Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-068, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Nov 2013.
    8. Spiegler, Ran, 2010. ""But Can't we Get the Same Thing with a Standard Model?" Rationalizing Bounded-Rationality Models," MPRA Paper 21428, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. David Dillenberger & Andrew Postlewaite & Kareen Rozen, 2011. "Optimism and Pessimism with Expected Utility, Third Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-001, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 26 Dec 2012.
    10. Zachary Breig, 2020. "Prediction and Model Selection in Experiments," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 96(313), pages 153-176, June.
    11. David Dillenberger & Andrew Postlewaite & Kareen Rozen, 2011. "Optimism and Pessimism with Expected Utility, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 12-031, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 10 Aug 2012.
    12. Cherepavov, Vadim & Feddersen, Timothy & Sandroni, Alvaro, 2013. "Rationalization," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(3), September.

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    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General

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