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Consumer Behavior From A Cardinalist And Ordinalist Approach

3841 words - 16 pages

Utility means satisfaction which consumers derive from commodities and services by purchasing different units of money.From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia “Ineconomics, utility is a measure of satisfaction;it refers to the total satisfaction received by a consumer from consuming a good or service. “Given this measure, one may speak meaningfully of increasing or decreasing utility, and thereby explain economic behavior in terms of attempts to increase one's utility. Utility is often affected by consumption of various goods and services, possession of wealth and spending of leisure time.
According to Utilitarian’s, such as Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806–1873), theory ...view middle of the document...

These 'revealed preferences', as they were named by Paul Samuelson, were revealed e.g. in people's willingness to pay:Utility is taken to be correlative to Desire or Want. It has been already argued that desires cannot be measured directly, but only indirectly, by the outward phenomena to which they give rise: and that in those cases with which economics is chiefly concerned the measure is found in the price which a person is willing to pay for the fulfillment or satisfaction of his desire. (Marshall 1920:78)
When comparing objects it makes sense to rank utilities, but older conceptions of utility allowed no way to compare the sizes of utilities - a person may say that a new shirt is preferable to a baloney sandwich, but not that it is twenty times preferable to the sandwich. The reason is that the utility of twenty sandwiches is not twenty times the utility of one sandwich, by the law of diminishing returns. So it is hard to compare the utility of the shirt with 'twenty times the utility of the sandwich'. But Von Neumann and Morgenstern suggested an unambiguous way of making a comparison like this.
Their method of comparison involves considering probabilities. If a person can choose between various randomized events (lotteries), then it is possible to additively compare the shirt and the sandwich. It is possible to compare a sandwich with probability 1, to a shirt with probability p or nothing with probability 1 − p. By adjusting p, the point at which the sandwich becomes preferable defines the ratio of the utilities of the two options.
[edit] Money
One of the most common uses of a utility function, especially in economics, is the utility of money. The utility function for money is a nonlinear function that is bounded and asymmetric about the origin. These properties can be derived from reasonable assumptions that are generally accepted by economists and decision theorists, especially proponents of rational choice theory. The utility function is concave in the positive region, reflecting the phenomenon of diminishing marginal utility. The boundedness reflects the fact that beyond a certain point money ceases being useful at all, as the size of any economy at any point in time is itself bounded. The asymmetry about the origin reflects the fact that gaining and losing money can have radically different implications both for individuals and businesses. The nonlinearity of the utility function for money has profound implications in decision making processes: in situations where outcomes of choices influence utility through gains or losses of money, which are the norm in most business settings, the optimal choice for a given decision depends on the possible outcomes of all other decisions in the same time-period.[4]

Utility as probability of success
Castagnoli and LiCalzi (1996) and Bordley and LiCalzi (2000) provided another interpretation for Von Neumann and Morgenstern's theory. Specifically for any utility function, there exists a...

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