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Subjective Expected Utility in Games

  • Alfredo Di Tillio

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.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 311.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:311
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  1. Brandenburger Adam & Dekel Eddie, 1993. "Hierarchies of Beliefs and Common Knowledge," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 189-198, February.
  2. R. Aumann, 2010. "Correlated Equilibrium as an expression of Bayesian Rationality," Levine's Bibliography 513, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Aviad Heifetz & Dov Samet, 1996. "Topology-Free Typology of Beliefs," Game Theory and Information 9609002, EconWPA, revised 17 Sep 1996.
  4. Adam Brandenburger & Amanda Friedenberg & H. Jerome Keisler, 2008. "Admissibility in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(2), pages 307-352, 03.
  5. R. Aumann, 2010. "Subjectivity and Correlation in Randomized Strategies," Levine's Working Paper Archive 389, David K. Levine.
  6. Monderer, Dov & Samet, Dov, 1989. "Approximating common knowledge with common beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 170-190, June.
  7. Battigalli, Pierpaolo & Bonanno, Giacomo, 1999. "Editors' note," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 243-246, September.
  8. 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).
  9. Joseph B. Kadane & Patrick D. Larkey, 1982. "Subjective Probability and the Theory of Games," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(2), pages 113-120, February.
  10. Harsanyi, John C., 1994. "Games with Incomplete Information," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1994-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
  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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