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The University of Southampton
Social Statistics and DemographyPart of Economic, Social & Political Science

Choosing treatment policies under ambiguity Seminar

24 March 2011
Room 2065, Building 2 Highfield Campus

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Social Statistics & Demography Division on +44 (0)23 8059 4547 or email .

Event details

Statistics Research Thursday Seminar Series: a S3RI special seminar

Economists studying choice with partial knowledge typically assume that the decision maker places a subjective distribution on unknown quantities and maximizes expected utility. Someone lacking a credible subjective distribution faces a problem of choice under ambiguity. This article reviews recent research on policy choice under ambiguity, when the task is to choose treatments for a population. Ambiguity arises when a planner has partial knowledge of treatment response and, hence, cannot determine the optimal policy.

I first discuss dominance and alternative criteria for choice among undominated policies. I then illustrate with choice of a vaccination policy by a planner who has partial knowledge of the effect of vaccination on illness. I next study a class of problems where a planner may want to cope with ambiguity by diversification, assigning observationally identical persons to different treatments. Lastly, I consider a setting where a planner should not diversify treatment.

Speaker information

Charles F. Manski,Department of Economics and Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University

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