## History of Utility-based Theory

Quelle:

History of Economic Thought
The utility-based theory of consumer demand was one of the cornersones of
Neoclassical theory. The Marginalist Revolutionaries, William Stanley Jevons
(1871), Carl Menger (1871) and Léon Walras (1874) all appealed to the notion
of utility-based theory of price, although only Walras bothered to derive
demand from utility explicitly.

The basis for the theory was much older. Augustin Cournot (1838) was the first
to introduce demand as a function of its own price, although it was Walras
(1874) who made it a function of all prices. The concept of utility and
diminishing marginal utility was already in the work of Daniel Bernoulli
(1738). The notion of utility, of course, was made famous by Jeremy Bentham
(1789) and many economists - such as Auguste Walras (1831), Jules Dupuit
(1844) and Heinrich Gossen (1854) attempted to apply it to economic
theory. The indifference curve was introduced by Francis Y. Edgeworth (1881)
and the irrelevance of a cardinal scale established independently by
Irving Fisher (1892) and Vilfredo Pareto (1896). It was Pareto (1896, 1906)
who gave great relevance to the notion of "preference" and "choice" rather
than utility functions, as the foundation of demand.

The Paretians, notably Vilfredo Pareto (1906), W.E. Johnson (1913), Eugen
Slutsky (1915), John Hicks and R.G.D. Allen (1934), John Hicks (1939) and Paul
Samuelson (1947) provided increasingly more general derivations of demand from
utility-maximization and described the properties of demand functions fully.

The mathematical axiomatization of the theory of choice was initiated by Ragnar
Frisch (1926) and followed up by Oskar Lange (1934), Franz Alt (1936),
S. Eilenberg (1941), Hermann Wold (1943-4), with a great impetus given by John
von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern (1944). Giovanni Antonelli (1886) was the
first to pose the "integrability" problem of deriving preferences from
observed demand. This was followed up by Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen (1936) and
Paul Samuelson (1938, 1947).

For more details on the history of demand theory consult Stigler (1950),
Katzner (1970) or our brief history of the phases of the Marginalist
Revolution. The following presentation adopts much of the Neo-Walrasian
presentation in Gérard Debreu (1959)