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Hidden Actions and Preferences for Timing of Resolution of Uncertainty

  • Haluk Ergin
  • Todd Sarver

We study preferences for timing of resolution of objective uncertainty in a menu-choice model with two stages of information arrival. We characterize a general class of utility representations called hidden action representations, which interpret an intrinsic preference for timing of resolution of uncertainty as if an unobservable action is taken between the resolution of the two periods of information arrival. These representations permit a richer class of preferences for timing than was possible in the model of Kreps and Porteus (1978) by incorporating a preference for flexibility. Our model contains several special cases where this hidden action can be given a novel economic interpretation, including a subjective-state-space model of ambiguity aversion and a model of costly contemplation.

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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1567.

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Date of creation: 14 Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1567
Contact details of provider: Postal: Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science, Northwestern University, 580 Jacobs Center, 2001 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-2014
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Web page: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/
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  1. Kreps, David M. & Porteus, Evan L., 1979. "Temporal von neumann-morgenstern and induced preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 81-109, February.
  2. Simon Grant & Atsushi Kajii & Ben Polak, 2000. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Recursive Non-Expected Utility Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 425-434, March.
  3. Olivier Compte & Philippe Jehiel, 2007. "Auctions and information acquisition: sealed bid or dynamic formats?," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(2), pages 355-372, 06.
  4. Thomas Tallarini, . "Risk-Sensitive Real Business Cycles," GSIA Working Papers 1997-35, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  5. Machina, Mark J., 1984. "Temporal risk and the nature of induced preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 199-231, August.
  6. Grant, S & Kajii, A & Polak, B, 1997. "Intrinsic Preference for Information," Papers 323, Australian National University - Department of Economics.
  7. Tomasz Strzalecki, . "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Recursive Models of Ambiguity Aversion," Working Paper 8240, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  8. Epstein, Larry G. & Seo, Kyoungwon, 2009. "Subjective states: A more robust model," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 408-427, November.
  9. Larry G. Epstein, 2007. "Living with risk," RCER Working Papers 534, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  10. Dekel, Eddie & Lipman, Barton L & Rustichini, Aldo, 2001. "Representing Preferences with a Unique Subjective State Space," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 891-934, July.
  11. Kraus, Alan & Sagi, Jacob S., 2006. "Inter-temporal preference for flexibility and risky choice," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 698-709, September.
  12. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-69, July.
  13. David S. Ahn & Todd Sarver, 2013. "Preference for Flexibility and Random Choice," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(1), pages 341-361, 01.
  14. Weil, Philippe, 1993. "Precautionary Savings and the Permanent Income Hypothesis," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(2), pages 367-83, April.
  15. Mossin, Jan, 1969. "A Note on Uncertainty and Preferences in a Temporal Context," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 172-74, March.
  16. Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1997. "Psychological Expected Utility Theory and Anticipatory Feelings," Working Papers 97-37, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  17. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-86, April.
  18. Ortoleva, Pietro, 2008. "The Price of Flexibility: Towards a Theory of Thinking Aversion," MPRA Paper 12242, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  19. Takashi Hayashi, 2005. "Intertemporal substitution, risk aversion and ambiguity aversion," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 933-956, 06.
  20. Eddie eckel & Barton L Lipman & Aldo Rustichini & Todd Sarver, 2005. "Representing Preferences with a Unique Subjective State Space: Corrigendum," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-042, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  21. Todd Sarver, 2008. "Anticipating Regret: Why Fewer Options May Be Better," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(2), pages 263-305, 03.
  22. Fabio Maccheroni & Massimo Marinacci & Aldo Rustichini, 2004. "Ambiguity Aversion, Robustness, and the Variational Representation of Preferences," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 12, Collegio Carlo Alberto, revised 2006.
  23. Kreps, David M, 1979. "A Representation Theorem for "Preference for Flexibility"," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 565-77, May.
  24. Todd Sarver, 2012. "Optimal Reference Points and Anticipation," Discussion Papers 1566, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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