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Separability and AggregationThe Collected Works of W. M. Gorman, Volume I$
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W. M. Gorman, C. Blackorby, and A. F. Shorrocks

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198285212

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198285213.001.0001

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The Concavity of Additive Utility Functions

The Concavity of Additive Utility Functions

(p.127) 9 The Concavity of Additive Utility Functions
Separability and Aggregation

W. M. Gorman (Contributor Webpage)

, C. Blackorby, A. F. Shorrocks
Oxford University Press

This paper is from an unpublished typescript from the University of North Carolina (1970). When confronted with additivity, it is far more convenient to use profit functions than cost functions or indirect utility functions. The reason for this is that if the objective function is additive then the resulting profit function is also additive, so one does not lose all of the explicit original structure in moving to the dual. To be able to do this, however, each of the functions in question must be concave. However, concavity is typically not an easy assumption to accept in utility theory. The question addressed in this paper is whether concavity is more plausible in the case of additive separability.

Keywords:   additive separability, additive utility functions, additivity, concavity, profit functions, separability

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