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A Rehabilitation of the Principle of Insufficient Reason

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  • Sinn, Hans-Werner

Abstract

It is shown that two of the axioms necessary for the expected utility rule imply the Principle of Insufficient Reason. Whenever a decision maker knows the possible states of the world, but completely lacks information about the plausibility of each single state, he has to behave as if all states occurred with the same objective probability, known with certainty. The result is applied to decision trees and used to solve a problem formulated by Savage in order to discredit the classical version of the Principle of Insufficient Reason.

Suggested Citation

  • Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1980. "A Rehabilitation of the Principle of Insufficient Reason," Munich Reprints in Economics 19914, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:19914
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    Cited by:

    1. Alex Possajennikov, 2018. "Belief formation in a signaling game without common prior: an experiment," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 84(3), pages 483-505, May.
    2. Drouvelis, Michalis & Müller, Wieland & Possajennikov, Alex, 2012. "Signaling without a common prior: Results on experimental equilibrium selection," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 102-119.
    3. Claire Crawford & Lorraine Dearden & Ellen Greaves, 2013. "Identifying the drivers of month of birth differences in educational attainment," DoQSS Working Papers 13-07, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    4. Fontini, Fulvio & Umgiesser, Georg & Vergano, Lucia, 2010. "The role of ambiguity in the evaluation of the net benefits of the MOSE system in the Venice lagoon," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(10), pages 1964-1972, August.
    5. Susan Stratton Sayre & Rachel Goodhue & Leo Simon, "undated". "Probabilistic Political Viability: A Methodology for Predictive Political Economy," Working Papers 2012-01, Smith College, Department of Economics.
    6. Krakel, Matthias, 2000. "Relative deprivation in rank-order tournaments," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 385-407, July.
    7. Burer, Samuel & Jones, Philip C. & Lowe, Timothy J., 2008. "Coordinating the supply chain in the agricultural seed industry," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 185(1), pages 354-377, February.
    8. Ali Ahmed & Göran Skogh, 2006. "Choices at various levels of uncertainty: An experimental test of the restated diversification theorem," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 183-196, December.
    9. Camilla Froyn, 2005. "Decision Criteria, Scientific Uncertainty, and the Globalwarming Controversy," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 183-211, April.
    10. Maarten Janssen, 2001. "Rationalizing Focal Points," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 119-148, March.
    11. Keith Dougherty & Julian Edward, 2012. "Voting for Pareto optimality: a multidimensional analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 655-678, June.
    12. Singer, Marcos & Donoso, Patricio & Rodríguez-Sickert, Carlos, 2008. "A static model of cooperation for group-based incentive plans," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 492-501, October.

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