The Utility of Infinite Menus

By Lars Tyge Nielsen

Economics Letters 39 (1992), 43-47


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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