Undescribable Events

58 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2004

See all articles by Nabil I. Al-Najjar

Nabil I. Al-Najjar

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

Luca Anderlini

Georgetown University - Department of Economics

Leonardo Felli

University of Cambridge, Faculty of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: December 2003

Abstract

We develop a model of undescribable events. Examples of events that are well understood by economic agents but are prohibitively difficult to describe in advance abound in real-life. This notion has also pervaded a substantial amount of economic literature. We put forth a model of such events using a simple co-insurance problem as backdrop. Undescribable events in our model are understood by economic agents - their consequences and probabilities are known - but are such that every finite description of such events necessarily leaves out relevant features that have a non-negligible impact on the parties' expected utilities. We also show that two key ingredients of our model - probabilities that are finitely additive but fail countable additivity, and a state space that is small (discrete in our model) in a measure-theoretic sense - are necessary ingredients of any model of undescribable events that delivers our results.

Keywords: undescribable events, incomplete contracts, finite invariance, fine variability.

JEL Classification: C69, D81, D89

Suggested Citation

Al-Najjar, Nabil I. and Anderlini, Luca and Felli, Leonardo, Undescribable Events (December 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=479441

Nabil I. Al-Najjar

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
847-491-5426 (Phone)
847-467-1220 (Fax)

Luca Anderlini

Georgetown University - Department of Economics ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States
202-687-6361 (Phone)
202-687-6102 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.georgetown.edu/faculty/la2/

Leonardo Felli (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge, Faculty of Economics ( email )

Austin Robinson Building
Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge, CB3 9DD
United Kingdom
+44 1223 335221 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.felli.info

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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