Theory and Decision

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 25–78

Consequentialist foundations for expected utility

  • Peter J. Hammond

DOI: 10.1007/BF00129168

Cite this article as:
Hammond, P.J. Theor Decis (1988) 25: 25. doi:10.1007/BF00129168


Behaviour norms are considered for decision trees which allow both objective probabilities and uncertain states of the world with unknown probabilities. Terminal nodes have consequences in a given domain. Behaviour is required to be consistent in subtrees. Consequentialist behaviour, by definition, reveals a consequence choice function independent of the structure of the decision tree. It implies that behaviour reveals a revealed preference ordering satisfying both the independence axiom and a novel form of sure-thing principle. Continuous consequentialist behaviour must be expected utility maximizing. Other plausible assumptions then imply additive utilities, subjective probabilities, and Bayes' rule.


Expected utilitysubjective probabilitydecision treesBayes' ruleconsequentialist behaviour

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. Hammond
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsStanford UniversityStanfordU.S.A.