Consumption of Values
60 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2020
Date Written: November 19, 2020
Consumption decisions are partly influenced by values and ideologies. Consumers care about global warming, child labor, fair trade, etc. Incorporating values into the consumer’s utility function will often violate monotonicity, if consumption hurts values in a way that isn’t oﬀset by hedonic beneﬁts. We distinguish between intrinsic and instrumental values, and argue that the former tend to introduce dis- continuities near zero. For example, a vegetarian’s preferences would be discontinuous near zero amount of animal meat. We axiomatize a utility representation that captures such preferences and discuss the measurability of the degree to which consumers care about such values.
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