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Measuring UtilityFrom the Marginal Revolution to Behavioral Economics$
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Ivan Moscati

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199372768

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199372768.001.0001

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From Chicago to Paris

From Chicago to Paris

The Debate Continues, 1950–1952

(p.177) chapter 11 From Chicago to Paris
Measuring Utility

Ivan Moscati

Oxford University Press

Chapter 11 studies the second phase of the debate on expected utility theory (EUT), which commenced in May 1950, when Paul Samuelson, Leonard J. Savage, Jacob Marschak, Milton Friedman, and William Baumol initiated an intense exchange of letters. These economists argued about the exact assumptions underlying EUT, quarreled over whether these assumptions are compelling requisites for rational behavior under risk, and debated the nature of the cardinal utility function u featured in EUT. This correspondence modified the views of all five economists and transformed Samuelson into a supporter of EUT. In a prominent conference in Paris in May 1952, Friedman, Savage, Marschak, and Samuelson advocated EUT in the face of attacks from Maurice Allais and other opponents of the theory. The Paris conference and the publication of an Econometrica symposium on EUT in October 1952 marked the emergence of EUT as the mainstream economic model of decision-making under risk.

Keywords:   expected utility theory, EUT, Jacob Marschak, Paul Samuelson, Leonard J. Savage, William Baumol, Milton Friedman, Paris conference 1952, Maurice Allais, Econometrica symposium

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