Econ 3810/Econ 6760/CS 5846: Course Outline

Warning: this is a rough outline, subject to change!
1. Introduction -- What is Decision Theory about?

2. Static Decision Theory -- Certain Prospects
(a) Choice and Revealed Preference
  • Alternatives
  • Choice Functions
  • Preferences
(b) Representation of Preferences

3. Decision Rules and Uncertainty
(a) Set-up: States, Actions, Outcomes, Order
(b) The role of probability
(c) A Zoo of Decision Rules
i. Without probabilities
  • Admissible
  • Maxmin
  • Minimax regret
  • Competitive ratio
ii. With probabilities
  • Expected utility
  • Min expected regret
iii. With other representations of uncertainty
  • Multiple priors
  • Nonaddditive probabilities/Choquet measures
  • Other approaches

4. Expected Utility Theories
(a) Theory
  • Objective uncertainty, von Neumann- Morgenstern
  • Subjective uncertainty, Savage
(b) Applications: Examples and Issues
  • Decision theory in database query optimization
  • Influence diagrams and Bayesian networks
  • Value of information
  • Utility elicitation
  • Probability elicitation
  • CP Networks

5. Problems with Decision Theories for Uncertain Prospects
6. Other topics (to be determined)