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Probabilising the consumer: Georgescu-Roegen, Marschak and Quandt on the modelling of the consumer in the 1950s

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It is the purpose of this article to confront three attempts by economists at developing models of individual choice that go beyond standard ordinalist utility theory through introducing principles of probabilistic behaviour. We discuss first Georgescu-Roegen's neglected contributions to this subject, though he pioneered the definition of probabilistic preference in 1936 and came back on the subject intensively in the 1950s. We then present Marschak's (and his co-authors) attempts at axiomatising a probabilistic model of choice in the same period. The third contribution studied is that of Quandt, who provides a more operational style of modelling. This set of contributions is discussed against a general background of transformations of the theory of rational behaviour and of the methods proper to it.
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Keywords: B21; D01; D11; Georgescu-Roegen; Marschak; Probabilistic choice theory; Quandt

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 2, 2018

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