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Deriving Harsanyi’s Utilitarianism from De Finetti’s Book-Making Argument

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  • Enrico Diecidue

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    Abstract

    The book-making argument was introduced by de Finetti as a principle to prove the existence and uniqueness of subjective probabilities. It has subsequently been accepted as a principle of rationality for decisions under uncertainty. This note shows that the book-making argument has relevant applications to welfare: it gives a new foundation for utilitarianism that is alternative to Harsanyi’s, it generalizes foundations based on the theorem of the alternative, and it avoids arguments based on expected utility. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11238-006-9019-x
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Theory and Decision.

    Volume (Year): 61 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 363-371

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:theord:v:61:y:2006:i:4:p:363-371

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    Keywords: book-making argument; policy independence; utilitarianism; D60; D71; D81;

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    1. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
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    3. Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0012001, EconWPA.
    4. Machina, Mark J, 1989. "Dynamic Consistency and Non-expected Utility Models of Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 1622-68, December.
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    7. Wilhelm Neuefeind & Walter Trockel, 1994. "Continuous Linear Representability of Binary Relations," Game Theory and Information 9405002, EconWPA.
    8. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    9. Hammond, P.J. & , ., 1987. "Consequentialist foundations for expected utility," CORE Discussion Papers 1987016, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    10. Varian, Hal R, 1987. "The Arbitrage Principle in Financial Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 55-72, Fall.
    11. Diecidue, Enrico & Wakker, Peter P., 2002. "Dutch books: avoiding strategic and dynamic complications, and a comonotonic extension," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 135-149, March.
    12. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
    13. Yaari, Menahem E., 1988. "A controversial proposal concerning inequality measurement," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 381-397, April.
    14. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
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    Cited by:
    1. Eric Danan, 2010. "Randomization vs. Selection: How to Choose in the Absence of Preference?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(3), pages 503-518, March.

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