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Stochastically Independent Randomization and Uncertainty Aversion, Economic Theory


This paper proposes a preference-based condition for stochastic independence of a randomizing device in a product state space. This condition is applied to investigate some classes of preferences that allow for both independent randomization and uncertainty or ambiguity aversion (a la Ellsberg). For example, when imposed on Choquet Expected Utility (CEU) preferences in a Savage framework displaying uncertainty aversion in the spirit of Schmeidler [27], it results in a collapse to Expected Utility (EU). This shows that CEU preferences that are uncertainty averse in the sense of Schmeidler should not be used in settings where independent randomization is to be allowed. In contrast, Maxmin EU with multiple priors preferences continue to allow for a very wide variety of uncertainty averse preferences when stochastic independence is imposed. Additionally, these points are used to reexamine some recent arguments against preference for randomization with uncertainty averse preferences. In particular, these arguments are shown to rely on preferences that do not treat randomization as a stochastically independent event.




Peter Klibanoff

Date Published



Klibanoff, Peter. 2001. Stochastically Independent Randomization and Uncertainty Aversion. Economic Theory.(3): 605-620.


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