A utility function assigns numbers to alternatives called utilities with the intended interpretation that the alternatives with higher utilities are preferred to alternatives with lower utilities. More formally, given a set \(X\) of alternatives, a utility function for a decision maker is a function \(u:X\rightarrow \mathbb{R}\), where \(\mathbb{R}\) is the set of real numbers. When \(u(x)=r\) we say that “the utility of \(x\) is \(r\)”.

The main readings for this section are:

Additional readings about utility include: