IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/the/publsh/800.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The evolution of decision and experienced utility

Author

Listed:
  • Robson, Arthur J.

    () (Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University)

  • Samuelson, Larry

    () (Department of Economics, Yale University)

Abstract

Psychologists report that people make choices on the basis of "decision utilities'' that routinely overestimate the "experienced utility'' consequences of these choices. This paper argues that this dichotomy between decision and experienced utilities may be the solution to an evolutionary design problem. We examine a setting in which evolution designs agents with utility functions that must mediate intertemporal choices, and in which there is an incentive to condition current utilities on the agent's previous experience. Anticipating future utility adjustments can distort intertemporal incentives, a conflict that is attenuated by separating decision and experienced utilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Robson, Arthur J. & Samuelson, Larry, 2011. "The evolution of decision and experienced utility," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 6(3), September.
  • Handle: RePEc:the:publsh:800
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://econtheory.org/ojs/index.php/te/article/viewFile/20110311/5733/190
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Samet, Dov, 1998. "Common Priors and Separation of Convex Sets," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 172-174, July.
    2. Samet, Dov, 2000. "Quantified Beliefs and Believed Quantities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 169-185, December.
    3. Hart, Sergiu & Heifetz, Aviad & Samet, Dov, 1996. ""Knowing Whether," "Knowing That," and The Cardinality of State Spaces," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 249-256, July.
    4. Milgrom, Paul & Stokey, Nancy, 1982. "Information, trade and common knowledge," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 17-27, February.
    5. Dov Samet & Iddo Samet & David Schmeidler, 2003. "One Observation behind Two-Envelope Puzzles," Game Theory and Information 0310004, EconWPA.
    6. Samet, Dov, 1999. "Bayesianism without learning," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 227-242, June.
    7. Nielsen, Lars Tyge, et al, 1990. "Common Knowledge of an Aggregate of Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1235-1239, September.
    8. Giacomo Bonanno & Klaus Nehring, "undated". "Fundamental Agreement: A New Foundation For The Harsanyi Doctrine," Department of Economics 96-02, California Davis - Department of Economics.
    9. Robert J. Aumann, 1999. "Interactive epistemology I: Knowledge," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 28(3), pages 263-300.
    10. Morris, Stephen, 1994. "Trade with Heterogeneous Prior Beliefs and Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1327-1347, November.
    11. Heifetz, Aviad, 1996. "Comment on Consensus without Common Knowledge," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 273-277, July.
    12. Geanakoplos, John, 1994. "Common knowledge," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications,in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 40, pages 1437-1496 Elsevier.
    13. Monderer, Dov & Samet, Dov, 1989. "Approximating common knowledge with common beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 170-190, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Ingela Alger & Donald Cox, 2013. "The evolution of altruistic preferences: mothers versus fathers," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 421-446, September.
    2. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2014. "Economic Consequences of Mispredicting Utility," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 937-956, August.
    3. Jakub Steiner & Colin Stewart, 2016. "Perceiving Prospects Properly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1601-1631.
    4. Heutel, Garth, 2015. "Optimal policy instruments for externality-producing durable goods under present bias," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 54-70.
    5. Steiner, Jakub & Stewart, Colin, 2014. "Perceiving Prospects Properly," 2007 Annual Meeting, July 29-August 1, 2007, Portland, Oregon TN 2015-39, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Evolution; decision utility; experienced utility; focusing illusion;

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:the:publsh:800. 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: (Martin J. Osborne). General contact details of provider: http://econtheory.org .

    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.