The sure thing principle and the value of information

Theory and Decision 42 (1):21-36 (1997)
This paper examines the relationship between Savage's sure thing principle and the value of information. We present two classes of results. First, we show that, under a consequentialist axiom, the sure-thing principle is neither sufficient nor necessary for perfect information to be always desirable: specifically, under consequentialism, the sure thing principle is not implied by the condition that perfect information is always valuable; moreover, the joint imposition of the sure thing principle, consequentialism and either one of two state independence axioms does not imply that perfect information is always desirable. Second, we demonstrate that, under consequentialism, the sure thing principle is necessary for a nonnegative value of possibly imperfect information (though of course the principle is still not sufficient). One implication of these results is that the sure thing principle, under consequentialism, plays a somewhat different role in ensuring dynamic consistency in decision making under uncertainty than does the independence axiom in decision making under risk
Keywords Sure thing principle  value of information  consequentialism  dynamic consistency
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DOI 10.1023/A:1004934730665
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