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Outer measure and utility


  • Voorneveld, Mark

    () (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Weibull, Jörgen W.

    () (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)


In most economics textbooks there is a gap between the non-existence of utility functions and the existence of continuous utility functions, although upper semi-continuity is sufficient for many purposes. Starting from a simple constructive approach for countable domains and combining this with basic measure theory, we obtain necessary and sufficient conditions for the existence of upper semi-continuous utility functions on a wide class of domains. Although links between utility theory and measure theory have been pointed out before, to the best of our knowledge this is the first time that the present route has been taken.

Suggested Citation

  • Voorneveld, Mark & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2008. "Outer measure and utility," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 704, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 06 Apr 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0704

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jaffray, Jean-Yves, 1975. "Existence of a Continuous Utility Function: An Elementary Proof," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 43(5-6), pages 981-983, Sept.-Nov.
    2. Neuefeind, Wilhelm, 1972. "On continuous utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 174-176, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tapan Mitra & M. Ozbek, 2013. "On representation of monotone preference orders in a sequence space," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 41(3), pages 473-487, September.

    More about this item


    preferences; utility theory; measure theory; outer measure;

    JEL classification:

    • C60 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - General
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles

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