IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Shared Preferences and State-Dependent Utilities


  • 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)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark J. Schervish & Teddy Seidenfeld & Joseph B. Kadane, 1991. "Shared Preferences and State-Dependent Utilities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(12), pages 1575-1589, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:37:y:1991:i:12:p:1575-1589

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Leech, Dennis, 1985. "Ownership Concentration and the Theory of the Firm : A Simple-Game-Theoretic Approach to Applied US Corporations in the 1930's," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 262, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    2. Guillermo Owen, 1972. "Multilinear Extensions of Games," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 18(5-Part-2), pages 64-79, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Edi Karni & Philippe Mongin, 2000. "On the Determination of Subjective Probability by Choices," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(2), pages 233-248, February.
    2. Mongin, Philippe, 1998. "The paradox of the Bayesian experts and state-dependent utility theory," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 331-361, April.
    3. Lewis A. Kornhauser, 2003. "Preference, Well-Being, and Morality in Social Decisions," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 303-329, January.


    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: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). 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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.