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Bolker-Jeffrey Expected Utility Theory and Axiomatic Utilitarianism

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  • John Broome

Abstract

This paper introduces the Bolker-Jeffrey version of expected utility theory, which differs in several important respects from the versions commonly used by economists. Within the Bolker-Jeffrey theory, the paper proves a theorem first proved by Harsanyi: if social preferences are coherent and Paretian, and individual preferences are coherent, then social utility can be taken to be the sum of individual utilities. But the paper shows that in the Bolker-Jeffrey theory the proof requires very stringent assumptions. It assesses the significance of this fact.

Suggested Citation

  • John Broome, 1990. "Bolker-Jeffrey Expected Utility Theory and Axiomatic Utilitarianism," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 477-502.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:57:y:1990:i:3:p:477-502.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.2307/2298025
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    Cited by:

    1. BLACKORBY, Charles & BOSSERT, Walter & DONALDSON, David, 2003. "Harsanyi’s Social Aggregation Theorem : A Multi-Profile Approach with Variable-Population Extensions," Cahiers de recherche 2003-05, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
    2. Denant-Boèmont, L. & Petiot, R., 2003. "Information value and sequential decision-making in a transport setting: an experimental study," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 365-386, May.
    3. Richard Bradley, 2003. "Axiomatic Bayesian Utilitarianism," Working Papers hal-00242956, HAL.
    4. 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.
    5. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A., 1999. "Harsanyi's social aggregation theorem for state-contingent alternatives1," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 365-387, November.
    6. Nicolas Gravel & Thierry Marchant & Arunava Sen, 2016. "Conditional Expected Utility Criteria for Decision Making under Ignorance or Objective Ambiguity," AMSE Working Papers 1614, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised 04 Jun 2016.
    7. Jordan Howard Sobel, 1998. "Ramsey's Foundations Extended to Desirabilities," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 231-278, June.
    8. Dorian Jullien, 2013. "Asian Disease-type of Framing of Outcomes as an Historical Curiosity," GREDEG Working Papers 2013-47, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.

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