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Mark J. Machina

Type: Faculty

Name: Mark Machina

Title: Professor Emeritus

Degree: Ph.D.

Degree From: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Degree Year: 1979

Fields of Research: Microeconomic Theory 

Research Interest: Choice under uncertainty, Alternative Models of risk preferences and beliefs

Research Statement: Mark Machina's research program has been to explore the theoretical robustness of the classical approaches to preferences and beliefs under conditions of risk and uncertainty. By classical approaches, he means the expected utility model of preferences over risky prospects, and the subjective probability model of uncertain beliefs. These models have justifiably provided the framework for almost all theoretical and applied work in the economics of uncertainty since their formalization by von Neumann-Morgenstern, Savage, Ramsey, de Finetti and others in the early/mid 20th century. However, a growing amount of evidence from both psychologists and economists indicates that individuals systematically depart from the predictions of these models. His research has attempted to develop alternative models of risk preferences and uncertain beliefs that are consistent with the empirical data, but also retain the powerful analytical capabilities of the standard models.