Economics - General

Utility Function

Sean Carroll, a physicist at California Institute of Technology, has some interesting comments regarding how economists use the utility function in a post titled “So what have you been maximizing lately?“  For instance, here are his musings on ‘rational choice’:

If the job of science is to describe what happens in the world, then there is an empirical question about what function people go around maximizing, and figuring out that function is the beginning and end of our job. Slipping words like “rationalâ€? in there creates an impression, intentional or not, that maximizing utility is what we should be doing — a prescriptive claim rather than a descriptive one.