Abstract/Details

Essays on decision-making in environments of uncertainty


2007 2007

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Abstract (summary)

This dissertation consists of three independent parts. In the first part, I examine simple binary decisions on whether to adopt a particular behavior, practice, or technology. Agents rely on the decisions made by those surrounding them to inform their own. In particular, I am interested in the relationship between the individual decision and the spread of uniform behavior across a large number of decision makers. The main contribution of the chapter is to propose an analytical framework for the macroscopic diffusion process that accounts for both the decision and the socio-structural circumstances of the agents.

The second part studies the problem of cooperative behavior emerging in an environment where individual behavior and interaction structures both evolve. Players not only learn which strategy to adopt by mimicking the strategy of the best performing players they observe, but also choose with whom to interact on the basis of cost-benefit analysis. We find that scaleable cooperation—that is, high levels of cooperation in large populations—can be achieved in sparse networks, assuming that individuals are able to sever ties unilaterally and new ties can only be created with the mutual consent of both parties.

The third part concerns a class of problems in non-cooperative game theory that is subject to multiple, Pareto-ranked equilibria, where decision makers are faced with strategic uncertainty. I investigate how intervention strategies based on a Schelling-inspired tipping mechanism can efficiently alter the incentives of a small subset of individuals to trigger system-wide coordination on the Pareto-superior outcome. I then apply this framework to two examples, the provision of airline security and reward schemes in organizations.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Economics;
Social structure;
Uncertainty;
Essays;
Decision making;
Behavior;
Benefit cost analysis;
Game theory;
Studies
Classification
0501: Economics
0700: Social structure
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Decision-making; Game theory; Learning; Social networks; Uncertainty
Title
Essays on decision-making in environments of uncertainty
Author
Peterhansl, Alexander
Number of pages
155
Publication year
2007
Degree date
2007
School code
0054
Source
DAI-A 68/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780549056232
University/institution
Columbia University
University location
United States -- New York
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3266657
ProQuest document ID
304862873
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/304862873
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