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How Cardinal Utility Entered Economic Analysis, 1909-1944

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  • Ivan Moscati

Abstract

This paper illustrates the methodological and analytical issues that characterized, as well as the personal and institutional aspects that informed the discussions leading to the definition of the current notion of cardinal utility as utility unique up to positive linear transformations. As originally this type of utility was not called “cardinal”, the paper also investigates the terminological question of when and how the expression “cardinal” was coupled with positive linear transformations. In opposition to existing narratives, the paper shows that cardinal utility entered economic analysis between 1909 and 1944, that is, during the ordinal revolution in utility theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Ivan Moscati, "undated". "How Cardinal Utility Entered Economic Analysis, 1909-1944," Center for the History of Political Economy Working Paper Series 2013-09 4Creation-Date: 2, Center for the History of Political Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:hec:heccee:2013-9
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    File URL: http://hope.econ.duke.edu/node/800
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    Cited by:

    1. Dorian Jullien, 2016. "Under Uncertainty, Over Time and Regarding Other People: Rationality in 3D," GREDEG Working Papers 2016-20, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    2. Francesco GUALA, 2017. "Preferences: Neither Behavioural nor Mental," Departmental Working Papers 2017-05, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    3. Jean Baccelli & Philippe Mongin, 2016. "Choice-based cardinal utility: a tribute to Patrick Suppes," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(3), pages 268-288, July.
    4. Dorian Jullien, 2017. "Under Risk, Over Time, Regarding Other People: Language and Rationality Within Three Dimensions
      [Face au risque, dans le temps, par rapport aux autres : langage et rationalité dans trois dimensions
      ," Post-Print halshs-01651042, HAL.
    5. Senderski, Marcin, 2014. "Ecumenical foundations? On the coexistence of Austrian and neoclassical views on utility," MPRA Paper 67024, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Pham, Michel Tuan & Faraji-Rad, Ali & Toubia, Olivier & Lee, Leonard, 2015. "Affect as an ordinal system of utility assessment," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 81-94.
    7. Arthur E. Attema & Han Bleichrodt & Yu Gao & Zhenxing Huang & Peter P. Wakker, 2016. "Measuring Discounting without Measuring Utility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(6), pages 1476-1494, June.
    8. Georgios Gerasimou, 2017. "Preference intensity representation and revelation," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 201716, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews.

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