IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Human needs and utility maximization


  • Katherine B. Freeman


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to provide alternatives to the economic man image of human behavior and incorporate these alternative images which are based on motivational needs into utility analysis. Design/methodology/approach - Empirically derived psychological variables define the individual's personality type in terms of an altruistic or non-altruistic orientation. These variables are incorporated into the individual's utility function, and an analysis is made of utility maximization based on human needs. Findings - Behavioral and motivational characteristics of individuals are relatively constant and are a function of the underlying personality traits of the individuals. Empirical support is offered for these characteristics, they are incorporated into the individual's utility function, and an analysis if performed on the interactions between individuals. Originality/value - This paper not only goes beyond the economic man image of human behavior to analyze altruistic and selfish behavior but also analyzes the utility functions of both potential donors and recipients.

Suggested Citation

  • Katherine B. Freeman, 2011. "Human needs and utility maximization," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 38(3), pages 224-236, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijsepp:v:38:y:2011:i:3:p:224-236

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daly, George & Giertz, Fred J, 1972. "Welfare Economics and Welfare Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 131-138, March.
    2. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Walrasian Economics in Retrospect," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1411-1439.
    3. Binmore, Ken, 2005. "Natural Justice," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195178111.
    4. Hochman, Harold M & Rodgers, James D, 1969. "Pareto Optimal Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(4), pages 542-557, Part I Se.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:ijsepp:v:38:y:2011:i:3:p:224-236. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Virginia Chapman). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.