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Non-Bayesian decision theory ahead of its time: the case of G. L. S. Shackle

Carlo Zappia ()

Cambridge Journal of Economics, 2014, vol. 38, issue 5, 1133-1154

Abstract: This article deals with the reception of George L. S. Shackle’s volume Expectation in Economics, introducing a unique attempt to discard the probability framework in the investigation of behaviour under uncertainty. Through a fresh reading of the textual evidence, including correspondence held at Cambridge University Library, the article assesses why decision theorists’ interest in Shackle’s theory, substantial during the 1950s, faded away in the early 1960s. The article argues that, apart from Shackle’s refusal to comprehend that his critics were under the influence of a new subjective probability perspective, a major explanation of the dismissal of his work stays in Shackle’s stance not to establish a collaborative link with those critics who showed a positive attitude towards his theory. The article shows, though, that the discussion between Shackle and his critics hinged on a number of topics that are still crucial to the current developments of decision theory.

Date: 2014
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