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The Utility of infinite menus

Author: Nielsen, Lars Tyge INSEAD Area: FinanceIn: Economics Letters, vol. 39, no. 1, 1992 Language: EnglishDescription: p. 43-47.Type of document: INSEAD ArticleNote: Please ask us for this itemAbstract: It is sometimes concluded from the St Petersburg paradox that von Neumann-Morgenstern utility functions must be bounded. Some axiom systems for expected utility avoid this conclusion and allow for unbounded utility functions. This note goes a step further and constructs an axiom system which may yield a utility function that takes the value plus infinity. Such a utility function is potentially applicable in situations where "blank checks" or "infinite menus" are ranked along with other prospects
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It is sometimes concluded from the St Petersburg paradox that von Neumann-Morgenstern utility functions must be bounded. Some axiom systems for expected utility avoid this conclusion and allow for unbounded utility functions. This note goes a step further and constructs an axiom system which may yield a utility function that takes the value plus infinity. Such a utility function is potentially applicable in situations where "blank checks" or "infinite menus" are ranked along with other prospects

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