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Rationality of Belief Or: Why Savage's axioms are neither necessary nor sufficient for rationality, Second Version

  • Itzhak Gilboa

    ()

    (Tel-Aviv University, HEC, and Cowles Foundation, Yale University)

  • Andrew Postlewaite

    ()

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • David Schmeidler

    ()

    (Tel-Aviv University and Ohio State University)

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. It follows that the Bayesian approach is neither sufficient not necessary for the rationality of beliefs.

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File URL: http://economics.sas.upenn.edu/system/files/working-papers/07-001.pdf
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Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 07-001.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2004
Date of revision: 03 Jan 2007
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:07-001
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  1. Epstein, Larry G. & Schneider, Martin, 2003. "Recursive multiple-priors," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 1-31, November.
  2. Mailath George J. & Okuno-Fujiwara Masahiro & Postlewaite Andrew, 1993. "Belief-Based Refinements in Signalling Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 241-276, August.
  3. Mark J. Machina & David Schmeidler, 1990. "A More Robust Definition of Subjective Probability," Discussion Paper Serie A 306, University of Bonn, Germany.
  4. Lawrence Blume & Adam Brandenburger & Eddie Dekel, 2014. "Lexicographic Probabilities and Choice Under Uncertainty," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: The Language of Game Theory Putting Epistemics into the Mathematics of Games, chapter 6, pages 137-160 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
  5. Epstein Larry G. & Wang Tan, 1995. "Uncertainty, Risk-Neutral Measures and Security Price Booms and Crashes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 40-82, October.
  6. Enriqueta Aragones & Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew Postlewaite & David Schmeidler, 2003. "Fact-Free Learning," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-023, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  7. Cho, In-Koo & Kreps, David M, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221, May.
  8. Mukerji, S., 1997. "Ambiguity aversion and incompleteness of contractual form," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9715, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  9. Larry G. Epstein & JianJun Miao, 2001. "A Two-Person Dynamic Equilibrium under Ambiguity," RCER Working Papers 478, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  10. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 2001. "Acknowledging Misspecification in Macroeconomic Theory," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(3), pages 519-535, July.
  11. Machina Mark J. & Schmeidler David, 1995. "Bayes without Bernoulli: Simple Conditions for Probabilistically Sophisticated Choice," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 106-128, October.
  12. David Schmeidler, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7662, David K. Levine.
  13. Dow, James & Werlang, Sergio Ribeiro da Costa, 1992. "Uncertainty Aversion, Risk Aversion, and the Optimal Choice of Portfolio," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 197-204, January.
  14. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
  15. Itzhak Gilboa & David Schmeidler, 2002. "Inductive Inference: An Axiomatic Approach," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391749000000000544, David K. Levine.
  16. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  17. Nishimura, Kiyohiko G. & Ozaki, Hiroyuki, 2004. "Search and Knightian uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 299-333, December.
  18. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2005. "The Case for Mindless Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 784828000000000581, David K. Levine.
  19. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 2003. "Robust control of forward-looking models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 581-604, April.
  20. Paolo Ghirardato, 2002. "Revisiting Savage in a conditional world," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 83-92.
  21. Epstein, Larry G & Wang, Tan, 1994. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing Under Knightian Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 283-322, March.
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