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Estimating Bayesian Decision Problems with Heterogeneous Priors

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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 Identication” 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," CAMA Working Papers 2013-18, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2013-18
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    File URL: https://cama.crawford.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/publication/cama_crawford_anu_edu_au/2017-02/18_2013_priors_full_paper.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Stephen Hansen & Michael McMahon & Carlos Velasco Rivera, 2013. "How Expoerts Decide: Preferences or Private Assessments on a Monetary Policy Committee?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4201, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. 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.
    4. Peter Sorensen & Marco Ottaviani, 2000. "Herd Behavior and Investment: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 695-704, June.
    5. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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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