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Rationality of Belief

  • Itzhak Gilboa
  • Andrew Postlewaite
  • David Schmeidler

Economic theory reduces the concept of rationality to internal consistency. The practice of economics, however, distinguishes between rational and irrational beliefs. There is therefore an interest in a theory of rational beliefs, and of the process by which beliefs are generated and justified. We argue that the Bayesian approach is unsatisfactory for this purpose, for several reasons. First, the Bayesian approach begins with a prior, and models only a very limited form of learning, namely, Bayesian updating. Thus, it is inherently incapable of describing the formation of prior beliefs. Second, there are many situations in which there is not sufficient information for an individual to generate a Bayesian prior. It follows that the Bayesian approach is neither sufficient not necessary for the rationality of beliefs.

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Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 122247000000000690.

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Date of creation: 09 Nov 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:122247000000000690
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  1. Machina Mark J. & Schmeidler David, 1995. "Bayes without Bernoulli: Simple Conditions for Probabilistically Sophisticated Choice," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 106-128, October.
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  11. Enriqueta Aragones & Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew Postlewaite & David Schmeidler, 2003. "Fact-Free Learning," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-002, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Dec 2004.
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  18. Mailath George J. & Okuno-Fujiwara Masahiro & Postlewaite Andrew, 1993. "Belief-Based Refinements in Signalling Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 241-276, August.
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