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What Are Axiomatizations Good For?


  • Itzhak Gilboa

    (GREGH - Groupement de Recherche et d'Etudes en Gestion à HEC - HEC Paris - Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Andrew Postlewaite

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Larry Samuelson

    (Department of Economics - Yale University [New Haven])

  • David Schmeidler

    (TAU - Tel Aviv University)


In light of the interest in axiomatic models of decision making in recent years, one is led to ask, in what ways do the axiomatic deriva- tions advance economics? If economists are interested in predicting how people behave, without a pretense to change individual decision making, how can they benefit from representation theorems, which are no more than equivalence results? We address this question, propose several ways in which representation results can still be useful, and discuss their potential implications to axiomatic decision theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew Postlewaite & Larry Samuelson & David Schmeidler, 2018. "What Are Axiomatizations Good For?," Working Papers hal-01933876, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-01933876
    DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.3178761

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Evan Sadler, 2021. "A Practical Guide to Updating Beliefs From Contradictory Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 89(1), pages 415-436, January.
    2. Aldo Montesano, 2022. "On the economic foundations of decision theory," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 93(3), pages 563-583, October.
    3. Gilles Boevi Koumou & Georges Dionne, 2022. "Coherent Diversification Measures in Portfolio Theory: An Axiomatic Foundation," Risks, MDPI, vol. 10(11), pages 1-19, October.
    4. He, Ying & Dyer, James S. & Butler, John C. & Jia, Jianmin, 2019. "An additive model of decision making under risk and ambiguity," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 78-92.
    5. Denis Bouyssou & Thierry Marchant & Marc Pirlot, 2023. "A theoretical look at Electre Tri-nB and related sorting models," 4OR, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 1-31, March.
    6. Ganesh Karapakula, 2022. "An Axiomatic Framework for Cost-Benefit Analysis," Papers 2207.13033,
    7. Denis Bouyssou & Thierry Marchant & Marc Pirlot, 2020. "A theoretical look at ELECTRE TRI-nB," Working Papers hal-02917994, HAL.
    8. Moscati, Ivan, 2021. "On the recent philosophy of decision theory," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 115039, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Lorenzo Bastianello & Jos'e Heleno Faro, 2019. "Time discounting under uncertainty," Papers 1911.00370,, revised Mar 2020.
    10. Denis Bouyssou & Thierry Marchant & Marc Pirlot, 2020. "A theoretical look at ELECTRE TRI-nB," Working Papers hal-02898131, HAL.
    11. Ruodu Wang & Ričardas Zitikis, 2021. "An Axiomatic Foundation for the Expected Shortfall," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 67(3), pages 1413-1429, March.
    12. Zhanyi Jiao & Steven Kou & Yang Liu & Ruodu Wang, 2022. "An axiomatic theory for anonymized risk sharing," Papers 2208.07533,, revised May 2023.

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    JEL classification:

    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology
    • D0 - Microeconomics - - General


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