Interdependent preferences and policy stances in mainstream economics


  • François Claveau EIPE, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands



interdependent preferences, extended utility function, neoclassical economics, Pareto efficiency, welfare analysis, policy recommendations


An individual's preferences are interdependent when they can be influenced by the behaviour of other agents. This paper analyzes the internal dynamics of an approach in contemporary economics allowing for interdependent preferences, the extended utility approach (EUA), which presents itself as a mild reform of neoclassical economics. I contend that this approach succeeds in broadening the policy perspectives of mainstream economics by challenging neoclassical policy stances. However, this success comes with a limitation: the EUA is unable to supply new consensual policy stances as alternatives to the challenged ones. The reason for this limitation is that the EUA opens the possibility of a wide variety of specifications for the utility function, and policy conclusions are sensitive to the details of these specifications.

Author Biography

François Claveau, EIPE, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

François Claveau is a PhD candidate at the Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research focuses on the contributions of the new approaches in economics to the policy conversation and on the debate in economics over micro-foundations in the context of causal reasoning for policy use.




How to Cite

Claveau, F. (2009). Interdependent preferences and policy stances in mainstream economics. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 2(1), 1–28.