Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Measuring UtilityFrom the Marginal Revolution to Behavioral Economics$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Ivan Moscati

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199372768

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199372768.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 November 2020

Is There a Unit of Utility?

Is There a Unit of Utility?

Jevons, Menger, and Walras on the Measurability of Utility, 1870–1910

Chapter:
(p.25) chapter 2 Is There a Unit of Utility?
Source:
Measuring Utility
Author(s):

Ivan Moscati

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199372768.003.0003

Chapter 2 discusses how William Stanley Jevons, Carl Menger, and Léon Walras addressed the issue of the measurability of utility. The three founders of marginal utility theory identified measurement with unit-based measurement and, accordingly, searched for a unit of utility that could be used to assess utility ratios. The outcomes of this search were diverse and ranged from Jevons’s idea that a unit to measure utility, although not available at present, may become so in the future to Walras’s assertion that although utility cannot be measured, constructing economic theory as if it were measurable is a scientifically legitimate procedure. The final section of the chapter explains why the current notion of cardinal utility is inadequate for understanding the utility theories of Jevons, Menger, and Walras and accordingly contends that the three founders of marginal utility theory were not cardinalists in the modern sense of the term.

Keywords:   William Stanley Jevons, utility measurement, Carl Menger, unit-based measurement, exchange value, Léon Walras, willingness to pay, ordinal utility, cardinal utility, ratio-scale utility

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .