Ambiguity, Data and Preferences for Information - A Case-Based Approach
In this paper we suggest a behavioral approach to decision making under ambiguity based on available information. A decision situation is characterized by a set of actions, a set of outcomes, and data consisting of action-outcome pairs. Decision-makers express preferences over actions and data sets. We derive a representation of preferences, which separates utility and beliefs. While the utility function is purely subjective, the beliefs of the decision maker combine objective characteristics of the data (number and frequency of observations) with subjective features of the decision maker (similarity of observations and perceived ambiguity). We identify the subjectively perceived degree of ambiguity and separate it into ambiguity due to a limited number of observations and ambiguity due to data heterogeneity. We also determine the decision maker’s attitude towards ambiguity. The special case of no ambiguity represents beliefs as similarity-weighted frequencies and provides a behavioral foundation for Billot, Gilboa, Samet and Schmeidler’s (2005) representation.
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