Allocation under Uncertainty: Equilibrium and Optimality: by Jacques H. Drèze (eds.)

By Jacques H. Drèze (eds.)

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Extra info for Allocation under Uncertainty: Equilibrium and Optimality: Proceedings from a Workshop sponsored by the International Economic Association

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They therefore introduce two alternative reference criteria based on (1) constant market value, and (2) constant expected utility. Let ( Y2 , r) denote an uncertain prospect, and let ( Y2*, r*) be a sure prospect serving as a reference criterion. In the cases discussed above Y2 * and r* are simply equal to the expected values. Now imagine that there exist markets in which one can insure future incomes3 and stock markets for assets with uncertain rates of return, 1 Sandmo derived this result in commenting on the article by Levhari and Srinivasan [13] where an equivalent result is proved in a multi-period model.

The theory under review is presented with reference to a single decision-maker. Yet it must be recognised that many, if not most, decision problems of interest to social scientists call for group decisions. In economics, the abstract 'consumer' is typically a family, and most families consist of more than a single person; the abstract 'producer' is typically a firm, grouping many individuals; and problems of 'social choice' arise specifically from the presence of several decision-makers, with distinct values and judgements, and typically with conflicting interests.

2); once that ranking is ascertained, consistent choices follow. The temptation to avoid facing squarely the issue of conditional preference is cleverly exploited in constructing the examples. I feel strongly that they belong to the family of 'optical illusions', their main purpose being to remind us of the strength of the assumptions of consistency and of the usefulness of decomposing logically complex choice situations into their elementary components. Finally, I would like to mention another example, which was constructed during the Bergen Conference.

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