IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Shared Preferences and State-Dependent Utilities

Listed author(s):
  • Mark J. Schervish

    (Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213)

  • Teddy Seidenfeld

    (Department of Philosophy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213)

  • Joseph B. Kadane

    (Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213)

Registered author(s):

    This investigation combines two questions for expected utility theory: 1. When do the shared preferences among expected utility maximizers conform to the dictates of expected utility? 2. What is the impact on expected utility theory of allowing preferences for prizes to be state-dependent? Our principal conclusion (Theorem 4) establishes very restrictive necessary and sufficient conditions for the existence of a Pareto, Bayesian compromise of preferences between two Bayesian agents, even when utilities are permitted to be state-dependent and identifiable. This finding extends our earlier result (Theorem 2, 1989a) which applies provided that all utilities are state-independent. A subsidiary theme is a decision theoretic analysis of common rules for "pooling" expert probabilities. Against the backdrop of "horse lottery" theory (Anscombe and Aumann 1963) and subject to a weak Pareto rule, we show, generally, that there is no Bayesian compromise between two Bayesian agents even when state-dependent utilities are entertained in an identifiable way. The word "identifiable" is important because, if state-dependence is permitted merely by dropping the Anscombe-Aumann axiom (Axiom 4 here) for "state-independence," though a continuum of possible Bayesian compromises emerges, also it leads to an extreme underdetermination of an agent's personal probability and utility given the agent's preferences. Instead, when state-dependence is monitored through (our version of) the approach of Karni, Schmeidler, and Vind (1983), the general impossibility of a Bayesian, Pareto compromise in preferences reappears.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 37 (1991)
    Issue (Month): 12 (December)
    Pages: 1575-1589

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:37:y:1991:i:12:p:1575-1589
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA

    Phone: +1-443-757-3500
    Fax: 443-757-3515
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:37:y:1991:i:12:p:1575-1589. 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: (Mirko Janc)

    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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.