Wednesday, December 6, 2017
4:00 pm
Baxter B125

Ulric B. and Evelyn L. Bray Social Sciences Seminar

Subjective Utilitarianism: Individual decisions in a social context
Shiri Alon, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Bar Ilan University in Israel

Abstract: Individual decisions are often subjectively affected by other-regarding considerations. We model a decision maker influenced by a grand group of significant others. Each sub-group of significant others is a possible social context, and the decision maker has different preferences in different social contexts. An axiomatic characterization of such preferences is offered.  The  characterized representation takes a simple subjective utilitarian form: (a) the decision maker ascribes to each significant other a utility function, representing the decision maker's subjective perception of this other person's tastes, and (b) in any specific social context the decision maker evaluates alternatives by adding together her or his own personal utility and the sum of all group members' utilities as subjectively perceived by the decision maker.

Contact Letty Diaz letty.diaz@caltech.edu at 626-395-1255
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