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Recursive Utility and Preferences for Information, Economic Theory

Abstract

This paper presents an axiomatic foundation for recursive utility that captures the role of the timing of resolution of uncertainty without relying on exogenously specified objective beliefs. Two main representation results are proved. In the first one, future utility enters the recursion through the type of general aggregators considered in Skiadas (1997a), and as a result the formulation is purely ordinal and free of any probabilities. In the second representation these aggregators are conditional expectations relative to subjective beliefs. A new recursive representation incorporating disappointment aversion is also suggested. The main methodological innovation of the paper derives from the fact that the basic objects of choice are taken to be pairs of state-contingent consumption plans and information filtrations, rather than the temporal (objective) lotteries of the existing literature. It is shown that this approach has the additional benefit of being directly applicable to the continuous-time version of recursive utility developed by Duffie and Epstein (1992).

Type

Article

Author(s)

Constantinos Skiadas

Date Published

1998

Citations

Skiadas, Constantinos. 1998. Recursive Utility and Preferences for Information. Economic Theory. 12(2): 293-312.

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