A CLOSER LOOK AT UTILITY MAXIMISED BY ECONOMIC AGENTS
The relatively new stream of research on various types of utilities is reviewed and discussed together with some of its implications. The distinction is explained among experienced utility, remembered utility and predicted utility as three candidates for decision utility. Examples of selected empirical findings are given which show discrepancies, first, between past experienced utility and remembered utility and, second, between predicted utility and actual future experienced utility. Some critical reactions to the findings are briefly mentioned as well as implications for the debate on some important moral issues such as paternalism and HIV testing. It is concluded that there may be some methodological doubts about the empirical evidence available so far but even so, the evidence indicates that the tendency of models in economics to work with "the" utility to be maximised may be an overly simplified picture of the actual process of evaluation of outcomes.
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