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Free, publiclyaccessible full text available May 14, 2025

Building on Pomatto, Strack, and Tamuz (2020), we identify a tight condition for when background risk can induce firstorder stochastic dominance. Using this condition, we show that under plausible levels of background risk, no theory of choice under risk can simultaneously satisfy the following three economic postulates: (i) decisionmakers are risk averse over small gambles, (ii) their preferences respect stochastic dominance, and (iii) they account for background risk. This impossibility result applies to expected utility theory, prospect theory, rankdependent utility, and many other models. (JEL D81, D91)more » « lessFree, publiclyaccessible full text available June 1, 2025

Free, publiclyaccessible full text available April 24, 2025

We study how long‐lived, rational agents learn in a social network. In every period, after observing the past actions of his neighbors, each agent receives a private signal, and chooses an action whose payoff depends only on the state. Since equilibrium actions depend on higher‐order beliefs, it is difficult to characterize behavior. Nevertheless, we show that regardless of the size and shape of the network, the utility function, and the patience of the agents, the speed of learning in any equilibrium is bounded from above by a constant that only depends on the private signal distribution.more » « lessFree, publiclyaccessible full text available January 1, 2025

We develop an axiomatic theory of information acquisition that captures the idea of constant marginal costs in information production: the cost of generating two independent signals is the sum of their costs, and generating a signal with probability half costs half its original cost. Together with Blackwell monotonicity and a continuity condition, these axioms determine the cost of a signal up to a vector of parameters. These parameters have a clear economic interpretation and determine the difficulty of distinguishing states. (JEL D82, D83)more » « less

null (Ed.)We study repeated independent Blackwell experiments; standard examples include drawing multiple samples from a population, or performing a measurement in different locations. In the baseline setting of a binary state of nature, we compare experiments in terms of their informativeness in large samples. Addressing a question due to Blackwell (1951), we show that generically an experiment is more informative than another in large samples if and only if it has higher Rényi divergences. We apply our analysis to the problem of measuring the degree of dissimilarity between distributions by means of divergences. A useful property of Rényi divergences is their additivity with respect to product distributions. Our characterization of Blackwell dominance in large samples implies that every additive divergence that satisfies the data processing inequality is an integral of Rényi divergences.more » « less

null (Ed.)May's theorem (1952), a celebrated result in social choice, provides the foundation for majority rule. May's crucial assumption of symmetry, often thought of as a procedural equity requirement, is violated by many choice procedures that grant voters identical roles. We show that a weakening of May's symmetry assumption allows for a far richer set of rules that still treat voters equally. We show that such rules can have minimal winning coalitions comprising a vanishing fraction of the population, but not less than the square root of the population size. Methodologically, we introduce techniques from group theory and illustrate their usefulness for the analysis of social choice questions.more » « less

We study invariant random subgroups (IRSs) of semidirect products $G=A\rtimes \unicode[STIX]{x1D6E4}$ . In particular, we characterize all IRSs of parabolic subgroups of $\text{SL}_{d}(\mathbb{R})$ , and show that all ergodic IRSs of $\mathbb{R}^{d}\rtimes \text{SL}_{d}(\mathbb{R})$ are either of the form $\mathbb{R}^{d}\rtimes K$ for some IRS of $\text{SL}_{d}(\mathbb{R})$ , or are induced from IRSs of $\unicode[STIX]{x1D6EC}\rtimes \text{SL}(\unicode[STIX]{x1D6EC})$ , where $\unicode[STIX]{x1D6EC}<\mathbb{R}^{d}$ is a lattice.more » « less