Theory and Decision

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 281–301

Expected utility without utility

  • E. Castagnoli
  • M. Li Calzi


This paper advances an interpretation of Von Neumann-Morgenstern's expected utility model for preferences over lotteries which does not require the notion of a cardinal utility over prizes and can be phrased entirely in the language of probability. According to it, the expected utility of a lottery can be read as the probability that this lottery outperforms another given independent lottery. The implications of this interpretation for some topics and models in decision theory are considered.

Key words

Expected utility cardinal utility benchmark risk attitude stochastic dominance 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Castagnoli
    • 1
  • M. Li Calzi
    • 2
  1. 1.Istituto di Metodi Quantitativi Università ‘L. Bocconi’MilanoItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Matematica ApplicataUniversità di VeneziaVeneziaItaly

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