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Preference for Information




What is the relationship between an agent's attitude towards information, and her attitude towards risk? If an agent always prefers more information, does this imply that she obeys the independence axiom? We provide a substitution property on preferences that is equivalent to the agent (intrinsically) liking information in the absence of contingent choices. We use this property to explore both questions, first in general, then for recursive smooth preferences, and then in specific recursive non-expected utility models. Given smoothness, for both the rank dependence and betweenness models, if an agent is information-loving then her preferences can depart from Kreps and Porteus's (1978) temporal expected utility model in at most one stage. This result does not extend to quadratic utility. Finally, we give several conditions such that, provided the agent intrinsically likes information, Blackwell's (1953) result holds; that is, she will always prefer more informative signals, whether or not she can condition her subsequent behavior on the signal.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Grant & Atsushi Kajii & Ben Polak, 1996. "Preference for Information," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1114, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1114
    Note: CFP 974.

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chew, Soo Hong & Epstein, Larry G, 1989. "The Structure of Preferences and Attitudes towards the Timing of the Resolution of Uncertainty," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(1), pages 103-117, February.
    2. Chew, S H & Epstein, Larry G & Segal, U, 1991. "Mixture Symmetry and Quadratic Utility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 139-163, January.
    3. Hong, Chew Soo & Nishimura, Naoko, 1992. "Differentiability, comparative statics, and non-expected utility preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 294-312, April.
    4. Segal, Uzi, 1990. "Two-Stage Lotteries without the Reduction Axiom," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(2), pages 349-377, March.
    5. Machina, Mark J, 1982. ""Expected Utility" Analysis without the Independence Axiom," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 277-323, March.
    6. Rakesh Sarin & Peter Wakker, 1994. "Folding Back in Decision Tree Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(5), pages 625-628, May.
    7. Kreps, David M. & Porteus, Evan L., 1979. "Temporal von neumann-morgenstern and induced preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 81-109, February.
    8. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-286, April.
    9. Grant, Simon & Kajii, Atsushi & Polak, Ben, 1992. "Many good risks: An interpretation of multivariate risk and risk aversion without the Independence axiom," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 338-351, April.
    10. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
    11. Karni, Edi & Schmeidler, David, 1991. "Atemporal dynamic consistency and expected utility theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 401-408, August.
    12. Chew, Soo Hong & Ho, Joanna L, 1994. "Hope: An Empirical Study of Attitude toward the Timing of Uncertainty Resolution," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 267-288, May.
    13. Yaari, Menahem E, 1987. "The Dual Theory of Choice under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, January.
    14. Machina, Mark J, 1987. "Choice under Uncertainty: Problems Solved and Unsolved," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 121-154, Summer.
    15. Chew, Soo Hong, 1983. "A Generalization of the Quasilinear Mean with Applications to the Measurement of Income Inequality and Decision Theory Resolving the Allais Paradox," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 1065-1092, July.
    16. Kreps, David M & Porteus, Evan L, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 185-200, January.
    17. Machina, Mark J., 1984. "Temporal risk and the nature of induced preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 199-231, August.
    18. Grant, Simon & Kajii, Atsushi & Polak, Ben, 1992. "Many good choice Axioms: When can many-good lotteries be treated as money lotteries?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 313-337, April.
    19. Machina, Mark J, 1989. "Dynamic Consistency and Non-expected Utility Models of Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 1622-1668, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Botond Kőszegi, 2010. "Utility from anticipation and personal equilibrium," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 44(3), pages 415-444, September.
    2. Simon Grant & Atsushi Kajii & Ben Polak, 2000. "Preference for Information and Dynamic Consistency," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 263-286, May.
    3. Edward SchleeE, 1997. "The sure thing principle and the value of information," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 21-36, January.
    4. Bruno Bassan & Olivier Gossner & Marco Scarsini & Shmuel Zamir, 2003. "Positive value of information in games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 32(1), pages 17-31, December.
    5. Eichberger, Jürgen & Guerdjikova, Ani, 2013. "Ambiguity, data and preferences for information – A case-based approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(4), pages 1433-1462.
    6. Ali Lazrak, 2005. "Generalized stochastic differential utility and preference for information," Papers math/0503579,
    7. Hagen Lindstädt, 2007. "Valuing Others’ Information under Imperfect Expectations," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 62(4), pages 335-353, May.
    8. Alfred Müller & Marco Scarsini, 2002. "Even Risk-Averters may Love Risk," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 52(1), pages 81-99, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D89 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Other

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