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Expected utility without utility

Author

Listed:
  • Erio Castagnoli

    (Bocconi University, Italy)

  • Marco LiCalzi

    (University of Venice, Italy)

Abstract

This paper advances an interpretation of Von Neumann–Morgenstern’s expected utility model for preferences over lotteries which does not require the notion of a cardinal utility over prizes and can be phrased entirely in the language of probability. According to it, the expected utility of a lottery can be read as the probability that this lottery outperforms another given independent lottery. The implications of this interpretation for some topics and models in decision theory are considered.

Suggested Citation

  • Erio Castagnoli & Marco LiCalzi, 2005. "Expected utility without utility," Game Theory and Information 0508004, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:0508004
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 16
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    File URL: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de/econ-wp/game/papers/0508/0508004.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Machina, Mark J, 1982. ""Expected Utility" Analysis without the Independence Axiom," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 277-323, March.
    2. Robert F. Bordley & Gordon Hazen, 1992. "Nonlinear Utility Models Arising from Unmodelled Small World Intercorrelations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 38(7), pages 1010-1017, July.
    3. Bordley, Robert F, 1992. "An Intransitive Expectations-Based Bayesian Variant of Prospect Theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 127-144, May.
    4. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    5. Lucien Foldes, 1972. "Expected Utility and Continuity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(4), pages 407-421.
    6. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1974. "The Use of Unbounded Utility Functions in Expected-Utility Maximization: Response," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(1), pages 136-138.
    7. Grandmont, Jean-Michel, 1972. "Continuity properties of a von Neumann-Morgenstern utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 45-57, February.
    8. Robson, Arthur J, 1992. "Status, the Distribution of Wealth, Private and Social Attitudes to Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 837-857, July.
    9. Harry Markowitz, 1952. "The Utility of Wealth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60, pages 151-151.
    10. Viscusi, W Kip, 1989. "Prospective Reference Theory: Toward an Explanation of the Paradoxes," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 235-263, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. LiCalzi, Marco & Sorato, Annamaria, 2006. "The Pearson system of utility functions," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 172(2), pages 560-573, July.
    2. Castagnoli, Erio & LiCalzi, Marco, 2006. "Benchmarking real-valued acts," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 236-253, November.
    3. Feng, Bo & Lai, Fujun, 2014. "Multi-attribute group decision making with aspirations: A case study," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 136-147.
    4. Ali Abbas, 2004. "Maximum Entropy Utility," Game Theory and Information 0403002, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Abbas, 2004. "Utility Probability Duality," General Economics and Teaching 0403001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Hu, Jian & Homem-de-Mello, Tito & Mehrotra, Sanjay, 2014. "Stochastically weighted stochastic dominance concepts with an application in capital budgeting," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 232(3), pages 572-583.
    7. Marco LiCalzi, 2005. "A language for the construction of preferences under uncertainty," Game Theory and Information 0509002, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Pombo, Carlos & De la hoz, María Camila, 2015. "Institutional Investors and Firm Valuation: Evidence from Latin America," Galeras. Working Papers Series 040, Universidad de Los Andes. Facultad de Administración. School of Management.
    9. Lorenzo Bastianello & Marco LiCalzi, 2015. "Target-based solutions for Nash bargaining," Working Papers 5, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
    10. Masako Ikefuji & Roger Laeven & Jan Magnus & Chris Muris, 2013. "Pareto utility," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 75(1), pages 43-57, July.
    11. Bautista, Rafael, 2014. "A quantitative model of the human capital contribution to the value of a project," Galeras. Working Papers Series 039, Universidad de Los Andes. Facultad de Administración. School of Management.
    12. David B. Brown & Melvyn Sim, 2009. "Satisficing Measures for Analysis of Risky Positions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(1), pages 71-84, January.
    13. Wynn C. Stirling & Teppo Felin, 2016. "Satisficing, preferences, and social interaction: a new perspective," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 81(2), pages 279-308, August.
    14. Robert Bordley & Marco LiCalzi & Luisa Tibiletti, 2014. "A target-based foundation for the "hard-easy effect" bias," Working Papers 23, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
    15. Bordley, Robert F. & Pollock, Stephen M., 2012. "Assigning resources and targets to an organization’s activities," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 220(3), pages 752-761.
    16. Sergiy Gerasymchuk, 2007. "Mean-Variance Portfolio Selection with Reference Dependent Preferences," Working Papers 150, Department of Applied Mathematics, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
    17. Lorenzo Bastianello & Marco LiCalzi, 2018. "The probability to reach an agreement as a foundation for axiomatic bargaining," Working Papers 02, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
    18. DellaVigna, Stefano & LiCalzi, Marco, 2001. "Learning to make risk neutral choices in a symmetric world," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 19-37, January.
    19. Enrico Diecidue & Moshe Levy & Jeroen Ven, 2015. "No aspiration to win? An experimental test of the aspiration level model," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 51(3), pages 245-266, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    expected utility; cardinal utility; benchmark; risk attitude; stochastic dominance;

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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