From Wald to Savage: homo economicus becomes a Bayesian statistician
Bayesian rationality is the paradigm of rational behavior in neoclassical economics. A rational agent in an economic model is one who maximizes her subjective expected utility and consistently revises her beliefs according to Bayes’s rule. The paper raises the question of how, when and why this characterization of rationality came to be endorsed by mainstream economists. Though no definitive answer is provided, it is argued that the question is far from trivial and of great historiographic importance. The story begins with Abraham Wald’s behaviorist approach to statistics and culminates with Leonard J. Savage’s elaboration of subjective expected utility theory in his 1954 classic The Foundations of Statistics. It is the latter’s acknowledged fiasco to achieve its planned goal, the reinterpretation of traditional inferential techniques along subjectivist and behaviorist lines, which raises the puzzle of how a failed project in statistics could turn into such a tremendous hit in economics. A couple of tentative answers are also offered, involving the role of the consistency requirement in neoclassical analysis and the impact of the postwar transformation of US business schools.
|Date of creation:||14 Oct 2011|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany|
Web page: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gilboa, Itzhak & Postlewaite, Andrew & Schmeidler, David, 2009.
"Is It Always Rational To Satisfy Savage'S Axioms?,"
Economics and Philosophy,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(03), pages 285-296, November.
- Nicola GIOCOLI, 2005. "Modeling Rational Agents The Consistency View Of Rationality And The Changing Image Of Neoclassical Economics," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, issue 49, pages 177-208.
- Gilboa,Itzhak, 2009.
"Theory of Decision under Uncertainty,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521741231, June.
- Nicola Giocoli, 2003. "Modeling Rational Agents," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2585.
- Edi Karni & Philippe Mongin, 2000.
"On the Determination of Subjective Probability by Choices,"
INFORMS, vol. 46(2), pages 233-248, February.
- E. Karni & Ph. Mongin, 1997. "On the determination of subjective probability by choices," THEMA Working Papers 97-37, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
- Karni, E. & Mongin, P., 1997. "On the Determination of Subjective Probability by Choices," Papers 9737, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
- Giocoli, Nicola, 2008. "Three alternative (?) stories on the late 20th-century rise of game theory," MPRA Paper 33808, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Ivan Moscati, 2007.
"History of consumer demand theory 1871 - 1971: A Neo-Kantian rational reconstruction,"
The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought,
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 119-156.
- Ivan Moscati, 2005. "History of consumer demand theory 1871-1971: A Neo-Kantian rational reconstruction," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0506002, EconWPA.
- Giocoli, Nicola, 2006. "Do Prudent Agents Play Lotteries? Von Neumann's Contribution to the Theory of Rational Behavior," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(01), pages 95-109, March.
- Wakker,Peter P., 2010.
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521748681, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:34117. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.