What is utility?

  • (noun): The quality of being of practical use.
    Synonyms: usefulness
    See also — Additional definitions below


In economics, utility is a representation of preferences over some set of goods and services. Preferences have a utility representation so long as they are transitive, complete, and continuous.

Read more about Utility.

Some articles on utility:

Friedman–Savage Utility Function - Additions
... of Friedman's, argued that some of the implications of the Friedman–Savage utility function were paradoxical ... was to relate the curvature of an individual's utility function to increases in wealth ... This involved determining an individual's "normal" level of income, controlling for utility gains from "recreational investments" (The psychological utility gained by the act of gambling), and measuring deviations ...
Utility - Discussion and Criticism
... economist Joan Robinson famously criticized utility for being a circular concept "Utility is the quality in commodities that makes individuals want to buy them, and the fact that ... Another criticism comes from the assertion that neither cardinal nor ordinary utility is empirically observable in the real world ... In the case of cardinal utility it is impossible to measure the level of satisfaction "quantitatively" when someone consumes or purchases an apple ...
Homology Modeling - Utility
... Homology models can also be used to identify subtle differences between related proteins that have not all been solved structurally ... For example, the method was used to identify cation binding sites on the Na+/K+ ATPase and to propose hypotheses about different ATPases' binding affinity ...

More definitions of "utility":

  • (noun): (computer science) a program designed for general support of the processes of a computer.
    Example: "A computer system provides utility programs to perform the tasks needed by most users"
    Synonyms: utility program, service program
  • (noun): (economics) a measure that is to be maximized in any situation involving choice.
  • (adj): Capable of substituting in any of several positions on a team.
    Example: "A utility infielder"
    Synonyms: substitute
  • (noun): The service provided by a utility company.
    Example: "The cost of utilities never decreases"
  • (noun): A facility composed of one or more pieces of equipment connected to or part of a structure and designed to provide a service such as heat or electricity or water or sewage disposal.
    Example: "The price of the house included all utilities"
  • (adj): Used of beef; usable but inferior.
    Synonyms: utility-grade

Famous quotes containing the word utility:

    Moral sensibilities are nowadays at such cross-purposes that to one man a morality is proved by its utility, while to another its utility refutes it.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)