Biology and the Arguments of Utility

Luis Rayo, Arthur J. Robson
2013 Social Science Research Network  
Why did evolution not give us a utility function that is o¤spring alone? Why do we care intrinsically about food, for example? We answer these questions on the basis of informational asymmetries. On the one hand, there has been a long evolutionary history establishing that food is advantageous. On the other, individuals possess local information that is highly relevant-where food is located, for instance. If Nature shapes utility to embed the evolutionary knowlege that food is desirable and the
more » ... s desirable and the individual maximizes expected utility conditional on local information, the optimal choice can be attained. We thank Je¤ Ely, Phil Reny, Larry Samuelson, participants in conferences at USC and Chicago, as well as those in seminars at Yale, Barcelona and Pompeu Fabra. Robson is grateful to the Canada Research Chairs program for ...nancial support.
doi:10.2139/ssrn.2254895 fatcat:e3g2554qe5g2nj554q4ulwucve