SFU Royal Society of Canada Seminar Series: "Biology and the Arguments of Utility"

Thursday, February 7, 2013
11:30 - 12:30

Dr. Arthur Robson
Department of Economics


Why did evolution not give us a utility function that is offspring 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 individual maximizes expected utility conditional on local information, the optimal choice can be attained.