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Rationality of Belief Or Why Bayesianism is neither necessary nor sufficient for rationality

Author

Listed:
  • Itzhak Gilboa

    () (Eitan Berglas School of Economics, Tel Aviv University)

  • Andrew Postlewaite

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • David Schmeidler

    () (Eitan Berglas School of Economics, Tel Aviv University)

Abstract

Economic theory reduces the concept of rationality to internal consistency. The practice of economics, however, distinguishes between rational and irrational beliefs. There is therefore an interest in a theory of rational beliefs, and of the process by which beliefs are generated and justified. We argue that the Bayesian approach is unsatisfactory for this purpose, for several reasons. First, the Bayesian approach begins with a prior, and models only a very limited form of learning, namely, Bayesian updating. Thus, it is inherently incapable of describing the formation of prior beliefs. Second, there are many situations in which there is not sufficient information for an individual to generate a Bayesian prior. Third, this lack of information is even more acute when we address the beliefs that can be attributed to a society. We hold that one needs to explore other approaches to the representation of information and of beliefs, which may be helpful in describing the formation of Bayesian as well as non-Bayesian beliefs.

Suggested Citation

  • Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew Postlewaite & David Schmeidler, 2004. "Rationality of Belief Or Why Bayesianism is neither necessary nor sufficient for rationality," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-011, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:04-011
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Tigran Melkonyan & Mark Pingle, 2010. "Ambiguity, pessimism, and rational religious choice," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 69(3), pages 417-438, September.
    2. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2009. "Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1095-1131.
    3. Scott Condie & Jayant V. Ganguli, 2011. "Ambiguity and Rational Expectations Equilibria," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(3), pages 821-845.
    4. Pe[combining cedilla]ski, Marcin, 2011. "Prior symmetry, similarity-based reasoning, and endogenous categorization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(1), pages 111-140, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Decision making; Bayesian; Behavioral Economics;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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