AbstractA major virtue of von Neumann-Morgenstern utilities, for example, in the theory of general financial equilibrium (GFE), is that they ensure intertemporal consistency: consumption-portfolio plans (for the future) are in fact executed (in the future) — assuming that there is perfect foresight about relevant endogenous variables. This note proposes an alternative to expected utility, one which also delivers consistency between plan and execution — and more. In particular, it turns out that one special case is in fact simply discounted (subjective) expected utility. Moreover, this alternative formulation affords an extremely natural setting for introducing extrinsic uncertainty. The key idea behind my approach is to divorce the concept of filtration (of the state space) from any considerations involving probability (on the state space), and then concentrate attention on nested utilities of consumption looking forward from any date-event: utility today depends only on consumption today and prospective utility of consumption tomorrow, utility tomorrow depends only on consumption tomorrow and prospective utility of consumption the day after tomorrow, and so on.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 08-001.
Length: 9 pages
Date of creation: 15 Dec 2007
Date of revision: 04 Jan 2008
Utility theory; Expected utility; Intertemporal consistency; Extrinsic uncertainty; Cass-Shell Immunity Theorem;
Other versions of this item:
- D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
- D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
- D91 - Microeconomics - - Intertemporal Choice - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-01-19 (All new papers)
- NEP-DGE-2008-01-19 (Dynamic General Equilibrium)
- NEP-HPE-2008-01-19 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-UPT-2008-01-19 (Utility Models & Prospect Theory)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Johnsen, Thore H & Donaldson, John B, 1985. "The Structure of Intertemporal Preferences under Uncertainty and Time Consistent Plans," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1451-58, November.
- Cass, David & Shell, Karl, 1983. "Do Sunspots Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 193-227, April.
- Balasko, Yves, 1983. "Extrinsic uncertainty revisited," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 203-210, December.
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