The prologue outlines the main passages in the history of utility measurement in economics and presents the four main goals of the book. First, the book reconstructs in detail economists’ ideas and discussions about utility measurement from 1870 to 1985. Second, it brings into focus the interplay between the evolution of utility analysis, economists’ ideas about utility measurement, and their conception of what measurement in general means. Third, it explores the relationships between the history of utility measurement in economics, the history of the measurement of sensations in psychology, and the history of measurement theory in general. Finally, it discusses some epistemological problems related to utility measurement. Not discussed in the book are the measurement of social welfare, revealed preference theory, the post-1950 econometric approach to demand analysis, and the analysis of discrete choices initiated in the 1970s.
Keywords: utility measurement, utility theory, measurement theory, psychological measurement, epistemology of utility, utility concept, utility measures, utility measurement data, mentalist view, instrumentalist view
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