Non-Bayesian decision theory ante-litteram: the case of G. L. S. Shackle
This paper deals with the intellectual environment in which George L. S. Shackle’s theory of decision making was formulated and first discussed. Shackle’s approach had a great impact on decision theory in late 1940s and early 1950s being the single formalised attempt to discard the probability framework in the description of behaviour under uncertainty - a goal shared by Knight and Keynes. Against Shackle, Arrow defended the use of probability theory in decision making, by denying that the Knightian distinction between risk and uncertainty had any behavioural significance, and paving the way to Savage’s Foundations of Statistics as the new mainstream reference. Through an assessment of the reception of Shackle’s theory the paper presents the way a number of theoretical economists, psychologists, and mathematicians were interested in the viability of a formally structured alternative to theories of behaviour using probability statements to describe uncertainty. The paper aim to show that the lively but concentrated discussion on alternative decisional criteria Shackle was part of is crucial to understand the multifarious developments observed in modern decision theory in the last twenty years or so. Indeed, as discussed in a twin paper by Basili and Zappia, Shackle’s theory was a much more viable alternative to subjective expected utility than both its contemporary critics and modern decision theorists have recognised.
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- G. L. S. Shackle, 1940. "A Reply to Professor Hart," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(1), pages 54-57.
- Kelsey, David & Quiggin, John, 1992.
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- Paul Davidson, 1983. "Rational Expectations: A Fallacious Foundation for Studying Crucial Decision-Making Processes," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 5(2), pages 182-198, January.
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- Itzhak Gilboa & David Schmeidler, 1992. "Additive Representation of Non-Additive Measures and the Choquet Integral," Discussion Papers 985, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Itzhak Gilboa & David Schmeidler, 1994. "Additive Representations of Non-Additive Measures and the Choquet Integral," Post-Print hal-00753149, HAL.
- Marcello Basili & Carlo Zappia, 2007. "The weight of argument and non-additive measures: a note," Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID) University of Siena 003, Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID), University of Siena.
- Lachmann, Ludwig M, 1976. "From Mises to Shackle: An Essay on Austrian Economics and the Kaleidic Society," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 54-62, March.
- Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
- Itzhak Gilboa & David Schmeidler, 1989. "Maxmin Expected Utility with Non-Unique Prior," Post-Print hal-00753237, HAL.
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