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The transformations of utility theory: a behavioral perspective

Ulrich Witt ()
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Ulrich Witt: Max Planck Institute for Science of Human History

Journal of Bioeconomics, 2016, vol. 18, issue 3, 211-228

Abstract: Abstract The aim of this paper is threefold. First, it reappraises the major transformations which the utilitarian approach to human behavior has undergone in economics in search for a representation by utility functions and later by preference orders. Second, in the light of today’s behavioral and human sciences, an attempt is made to restore some elements of early utilitarianism that were abandoned in these transformations. Third, in line with the interest of the early utilitarians in both explaining behavior and elaborating on its moral assessment, the present paper also discusses some normative implications of the suggested restoration of utilitarian theory.

Keywords: Utility; Preferences; Utilitarianism; Motivation; Needs; Reinforcement learning; Goal striving (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A12 B12 B13 B21 D01 I31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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Journal of Bioeconomics is currently edited by Ulrich Witt, Michael T. Ghiselin and David Sloan Wilson

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jbioec:v:18:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s10818-016-9235-6