The Evolution of Decision and Experienced Utilities
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.
|Date of creation:||Oct 2008|
|Date of revision:||Feb 2010|
|Publication status:||Published in Theoretical Economics (September 2011), 6(3): 311-339|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA|
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.yale.edu/
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Michael Gurven & Hillard Kaplan, 2007. "Longevity Among Hunter- Gatherers: A Cross-Cultural Examination," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 33(2), pages 321-365.
- Arthur J. Robson & Balazs Szentes, 2008. "Evolution of Time Preference by Natural Selection: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1178-1188, June.
- Steffen Andersen & Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2008. "Eliciting Risk and Time Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 583-618, 05.
- Thaler, Richard, 1981. "Some empirical evidence on dynamic inconsistency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 201-207.
- Robson, Arthur J., 1996. "A Biological Basis for Expected and Non-expected Utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 397-424, February.
- Hansson, Ingemar & Stuart, Charles, 1990. "Malthusian Selection of Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 529-544, June.
- Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
- Lawrance, Emily C, 1991. "Poverty and the Rate of Time Preference: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 54-77, February.
- Curry, Philip A., 2001. "Decision Making under Uncertainty and the Evolution of Interdependent Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 357-369, June.
- Larry Samuelson & Arthur J. Robson, 2007. "The Evolution of Intertemporal Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 496-500, May.