Some Considerations Regarding the Problem of Multidimensional Utility
AbstractThe concept of 'utility' is often used in ambiguous ways in economics, from having substantive psychological connotations to being a formal placeholder representing a person's preferences. In the accounts of the early utilitarians, it was a multidimensional measure that has been condensed during the marginalist revolution into the unidimensional measure we know today. But can we compare different pleasures? This paper assesses the evidence from psychology and neurosciences on how to best conceive of utility. It turns out that empirical evidence does not favor a view of multidimensional utility. This does not eliminate the possibility to make a normative argument supporting a multidimensional notion of utility.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics in its series Jena Economic Research Papers with number 2009-099.
Date of creation: 08 Dec 2009
Date of revision:
utility; pleasures; neuroeconomics; multidimensionality of utility;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D87 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Neuroeconomics
- B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
- B12 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Classical (includes Adam Smith)
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-12-11 (All new papers)
- NEP-HPE-2009-12-11 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-UPT-2009-12-11 (Utility Models & Prospect Theory)
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