Ambiguous Aggregation of Expert Opinions: The Case of Optimal R&D Investment

How should a decision-maker allocate R&D funds when a group of experts provides divergent estimates on a technology's potential effectiveness? To address this question, we propose a simple decision-theoretic framework that takes into account ambiguity over the aggregation of expert opinion and a decision-maker's attitude towards it. In line with the paper's focus on R&D investment, decision variables in our model may affect experts' subjective probability distributions of the future potential of a technology. Using results from convex optimization, we are able to establish a number of analytical results including a closed-form expression of our model's value function, as well as a thorough investigation of its differentiability properties. We apply our framework to original data from a recent expert elicitation survey on solar technology. The analysis suggests that more aggressive investment in solar technology R&D is likely to yield significant dividends even, or rather especially, after taking ambiguous aggregation into account.

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Working or Discussion Paper
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JEL Codes:
C61; D81; Q42
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-26

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