The two theories are evaluated relatively with respect to empirical adequacy. It is shown that utility statements derived within the standard approach cannot be related to experience. Contrary to what seems generally believed, revealed preference theory fails to make the widely accepted behavioristic utility concept ordinally measurable. It is argued that the concept of utility as subjective well-being (happiness or satisfaction) is not only theoretically superior, but also measurable from survey information with sufficient precision. If utility is understood as subjective well-being, the available data discredit the standard theory and fully support Duesenberry’s approach.
Holländer, H. (2001). On the validity of utility statements: standard theory versus Duesenberry’s. Journal of Economic Behavior &Organization, 45(3), 227-249.