IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/jrp/jrpwrp/2009-099.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Some Considerations Regarding the Problem of Multidimensional Utility

Author

Listed:
  • Martin Binder

    () (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group, Jena)

Abstract

The concept of 'utility' is often used in ambiguous ways in economics, from having substantive psychological connotations to being a formal placeholder representing a person's preferences. In the accounts of the early utilitarians, it was a multidimensional measure that has been condensed during the marginalist revolution into the unidimensional measure we know today. But can we compare different pleasures? This paper assesses the evidence from psychology and neurosciences on how to best conceive of utility. It turns out that empirical evidence does not favor a view of multidimensional utility. This does not eliminate the possibility to make a normative argument supporting a multidimensional notion of utility.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Binder, 2009. "Some Considerations Regarding the Problem of Multidimensional Utility," Jena Economic Research Papers 2009-099, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2009-099
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.wiwi.uni-jena.de/Papers/jerp2009/wp_2009_099.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Charles Blackorby & Walter Bossert & David Donaldson, 2005. "Multi-profile welfarism: A generalization," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 24(2), pages 253-267, April.
    2. Knutson, Brian & Peterson, Richard, 2005. "Neurally reconstructing expected utility," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 305-315, August.
    3. Luigino Bruni & Robert Sugden, 2007. "The road not taken: how psychology was removed from economics, and how it might be brought back," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 146-173, January.
    4. Dr. Peter Kenning & Hilke Plassmann, 2004. "NeuroEconomics," Experimental 0412005, EconWPA.
    5. Broome, John, 1991. "A Reply to Sen," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 285-287, October.
    6. Spash, Clive L. & Hanley, Nick, 1995. "Preferences, information and biodiversity preservation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, pages 191-208.
    7. Sen, Amartya K, 1973. "Behaviour and the Concept of Preference," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 40(159), pages 241-259, August.
    8. George J. Stigler, 1950. "The Development of Utility Theory. II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, pages 373-373.
    9. Knetsch, Jack L., 1992. "Preferences and nonreversibility of indifference curves," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 131-139, January.
    10. Landreth, Anthony & Bickle, John, 2008. "Neuroeconomics, Neurophysiology And The Common Currency Hypothesis," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(03), pages 419-429, November.
    11. Christian List, 2004. "Multidimensional Welfare Aggregation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 119-142, April.
    12. McCabe, Kevin A., 2008. "Neuroeconomics And The Economic Sciences," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(03), pages 345-368, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    utility; pleasures; neuroeconomics; multidimensionality of utility;

    JEL classification:

    • D87 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Neuroeconomics
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • B12 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Classical (includes Adam Smith)

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:jrp:jrpwrp:2009-099. 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: (Markus Pasche). General contact details of provider: http://www.jenecon.de .

    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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.