The Economics and Philosophy of Risk

In Conrad Heilmann & Julian Reiss (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Economics (forthcoming)
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Abstract
Neoclassical economists use expected utility theory to explain, predict, and prescribe choices under risk, that is, choices where the decision-maker knows---or at least deems suitable to act as if she knew---the relevant probabilities. Expected utility theory has been subject to both empirical and conceptual criticism. This chapter reviews expected utility theory and the main criticism it has faced. It ends with a brief discussion of subjective expected utility theory, which is the theory neoclassical economists use to explain, predict, and prescribe choices under uncertainty, that is, choices where the decision-maker cannot act on the basis of objective probabilities but must instead consult her own subjective probabilities.
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