Unit 10: Utility Analysis and Multidimensional Evaluation, Video 3: Conditions for Value Function | Summary and Q&A

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September 28, 2022
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Unit 10: Utility Analysis and Multidimensional Evaluation, Video 3: Conditions for Value Function

TL;DR

Understanding the three axioms necessary for a legitimate and meaningful value function.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How does Completeness relate to individual decision-making?

Completeness means that individuals have the capacity to make preferences and evaluations, even if they have not thought about all possible choices. It allows for the existence of a value function for individuals.

Q: Is Transitivity always applicable?

While Transitivity generally holds true for individuals, there are exceptions under ambiguous situations, as demonstrated by experiments like the Ellsberg paradox. However, for groups, Transitivity is not plausible since different individuals may have conflicting values.

Q: What does the Archimedean Principle imply?

The Archimedean Principle states that the value of an option between the best and worst is a proportion of the best and a complementary proportion of the worst. It ensures a consistent valuation without fluctuations, enabling comparisons between different options.

Q: Can the Monotonicity assumption always be applied?

No, the Monotonicity assumption is not always true. Valuation can be complex, and there can be cases where more of something is not always better or worse. However, this assumption can be worked around by considering availability versus forced usage.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The construct of a value function depends on three axioms: Completeness, Transitivity, and the Archimedean Principle.

  • Completeness means that individuals have preferences over all choices and can make evaluations.

  • Transitivity states that if x1 is preferred to x2 and x2 is preferred to x3, then x1 is preferred to x3. However, this may not hold true for groups.

  • The Archimedean Principle suggests that the value of something in between the best and worst must be a proportion of both extremes.

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