Dynamic Choice and NonExpected Utility

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Abstract

This paper explores how some widely studied classes of nonexpected utility models could be used in dynamic choice situations. A new “sequential consistency” condition is introduced for single-stage and multi-stage decision problems. Sequential consistency requires that if a decision maker has committed to a family of models (e.g., the multiple priors family, the rank-dependent family, or the betweenness family) then he use the same family throughout. Conditions are presented under which dynamic consistency, consequentialism, and sequential consistency can be simultaneously preserved for a nonexpected utility maximizer. An important class of applications concerns cases where the exact sequence of decisions and events, and thus the dynamic structure of the decision problem, is relevant to the decision maker. It is shown that for the multiple priors model, dynamic consistency, consequentialism, and sequential consistency can all be preserved. The result removes the argument that nonexpected utility models cannot be consistently used in dynamic choice situations. Rank-dependent and betweenness models can only be used in a restrictive manner, where deviation from expected utility is allowed in at most one stage.

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