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Ambiguity, Pessimism, and Religious Choice

  • Tigran Melkonyan


    (Department of Resource Economics, University of Nevada, Reno)

  • Mark Pingle


    (Department of Economics, University of Nevada, Reno)

Using a relatively mild restriction on the beliefs of the MMEU-apreference functional, in which the decision maker’s degree of ambiguity and degree of pessimism are each parameterized, we present a rather general theory of religious choice in the decision theory tradition, one that can resolve dilemmas, address the many Gods objection, and address the inherent ambiguity. Using comparative static analysis, we are able to show how changes in either the degree of ambiguity or the degree of pessimism can lead a decision maker to “convert” from one religion to another. We illustrate the theory of religious choice using an example where the decision maker perceives three possible religious alternatives.

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Paper provided by University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Economics & University of Nevada, Reno , Department of Resource Economics in its series Working Papers with number 08-002.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unr:wpaper:08-002
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  1. Thibault Gadjos & Jean-Marc Tallon & Jean-Christophe Vergnaud, 2002. "Decision Making with Imprecise Probabilistic Information," Working Papers 2002-33, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  2. Ludwig, Alexander & Zimper, Alexander, 2004. "Rational Expectations and Ambiguity: A Comment on Abel (2002)," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 04-66, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  3. Marciano Siniscalchi, 2003. "A Behavioral Characterization of Plausible Priors," Discussion Papers 1365, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Ghirardato, Paolo & Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo, 2004. "Differentiating ambiguity and ambiguity attitude," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 133-173, October.
  5. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  6. Chateauneuf, Alain & Eichberger, Jürgen & Grant, Simon, 2003. "Choice under Uncertainty with the Best and Worst in Mind: Neo-additive Capacities," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 03-10, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  7. Montgomery, James D, 1996. "Contemplations on the Economic Approach to Religious Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 443-47, May.
  8. Wojciech Olszewski, 2007. "Preferences Over Sets of Lotteries -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(2), pages 567-595.
  9. Machina, Mark J & Schmeidler, David, 1992. "A More Robust Definition of Subjective Probability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 745-80, July.
  10. Ghirardato, Paolo & Klibanoff, Peter & Marinacci, Massimo, 1998. "Additivity with multiple priors," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 405-420, November.
  11. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1465-1495, September.
  12. Camerer, Colin & Weber, Martin, 1992. " Recent Developments in Modeling Preferences: Uncertainty and Ambiguity," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 325-70, October.
  13. David Schmeidler, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7662, David K. Levine.
  14. Jürgen Eichberger & Simon Grant & David Kelsey, 2008. "Differentiating ambiguity: an expository note," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 327-336, August.
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