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Subjective Expected Utility in Games

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  • Alfredo Di Tillio

Abstract

This paper extends Savage’s subjective approach to probability and utility from decision problems under exogenous uncertainty to choice in strategic environments. Interactive uncertainty is modeled both explicitly — using hierarchies of preference relations, the analogue of beliefs hierarchies — and implicitly — using preference structures, the analogue of type spaces à la Harsanyi — and it is shown that the two approaches are equivalent. Preference structures can be seen as those sets of hierarchies arising when certain restrictions on preferences, along with the players’ common certainty of the restrictions, are imposed. Preferences are a priori assumed to satisfy only very mild properties (reflexivity, transitivity, and monotone continuity). Thus, the results provide a framework for the analysis of behavior in games under essentially any axiomatic structure. An explicit characterization is given for Savage’s axioms, and it is shown that a hierarchy of relatively simple preference relations uniquely identifies the decision maker’s utilities and beliefs of all orders. Connections with the literature on beliefs hierarchies and correlated equilibria are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Alfredo Di Tillio, 2006. "Subjective Expected Utility in Games," Working Papers 311, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:311
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Heifetz, Aviad & Samet, Dov, 1998. "Topology-Free Typology of Beliefs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 324-341, October.
    2. Joseph B. Kadane & Patrick D. Larkey, 1982. "Subjective Probability and the Theory of Games," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(2), pages 113-120, February.
    3. Adam Brandenburger & Eddie Dekel, 2014. "Hierarchies of Beliefs and Common Knowledge," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Language of Game Theory Putting Epistemics into the Mathematics of Games, chapter 2, pages 31-41 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    4. Harsanyi, John C, 1995. "Games with Incomplete Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 291-303, June.
    5. Aumann, Robert J, 1987. "Correlated Equilibrium as an Expression of Bayesian Rationality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 1-18, January.
    6. Aumann, Robert J., 1974. "Subjectivity and correlation in randomized strategies," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 67-96, March.
    7. FORGES , Françoise, 1993. "Five Legitimate Definitions of Correlated Equilibrium in Games with Incomplete Information," CORE Discussion Papers 1993009, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    8. Battigalli, Pierpaolo & Bonanno, Giacomo, 1999. "Editors' note," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 243-246, September.
    9. Adam Brandenburger & Amanda Friedenberg & H. Jerome Keisler, 2014. "Admissibility in Games," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Language of Game Theory Putting Epistemics into the Mathematics of Games, chapter 7, pages 161-212 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    10. Monderer, Dov & Samet, Dov, 1989. "Approximating common knowledge with common beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 170-190, June.
    11. Battigalli, Pierpaolo & Siniscalchi, Marciano, 2002. "Strong Belief and Forward Induction Reasoning," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 356-391, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bergemann, Dirk & Morris, Stephen & Takahashi, Satoru, 2017. "Interdependent preferences and strategic distinguishability," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 329-371.
    2. Ganguli, Jayant & Heifetz, Aviad & Lee, Byung Soo, 2016. "Universal interactive preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 237-260.
    3. Grant, Simon & Meneghel, Idione & Tourky, Rabee, 2013. "Savage Games: A Theory of Strategic Interaction with Purely Subjective Uncertainty," Risk and Sustainable Management Group Working Papers 151501, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
    4. Stephen Morris & Satoru Takahashi, 2012. "Games in Preference Form and Preference Rationalizability," Working Papers 1420, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Econometric Research Program..
    5. repec:esx:essedp:722 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Chen, Yi-Chun, 2010. "Universality of the Epstein-Wang type structure," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 389-402, January.
    7. Michael Trost, 2013. "Epistemic characterizations of iterated deletion of inferior strategy profiles in preference-based type spaces," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 42(3), pages 755-776, August.
    8. Friedenberg, Amanda, 2010. "When do type structures contain all hierarchies of beliefs?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 108-129, January.
    9. Lee, Byung Soo, 2016. "A space of lexicographic preferences," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 16-25.
    10. Azrieli, Yaron & Teper, Roee, 2011. "Uncertainty aversion and equilibrium existence in games with incomplete information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 310-317.
    11. Stephen Morris & Satoru Takahashi, 2011. "Common Certainty of Rationality Revisited," Working Papers 1301, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Econometric Research Program..
    12. Grant, Simon & Meneghel, Idione & Tourky, Rabee, 2016. "Savage games," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 11(2), May.
    13. Willemien Kets, 2012. "Bounded Reasoning and Higher-Order Uncertainty," Discussion Papers 1547, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    14. Aviad Heifetz & Willemien Kets, 2012. "All Types Naive and Canny," Discussion Papers 1550, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    15. Dekel, Eddie & Siniscalchi, Marciano, 2015. "Epistemic Game Theory," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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