The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Measurement, Theory of

  • R. Duncan Luce
  • Louis Narens
Reference work entry


Physical measurement, as embodied in dimensional analysis, consists of interlocked, qualitative, ordered structures. Analogous approaches to behavioural science are outlined for sensory scaling such as loudness, utility of uncertain alternatives, and qualitative foundations of probability. In many cases, they are an ordered structure with a binary operation for combining elements and a Cartesian product where each factor affects the ordering of the attribute. Axioms sufficient for measurement – for the existence of a homomorphism onto the positive real numbers – are mentioned, and their uniqueness (scale type – for example, ratio, interval, ordinal) is formulated qualitatively in terms of the structure’s symmetries (or automorphisms).


Additivity Allais Paradox Averaging Completeness Conditional probability De Finetti, B. Extended sure-thing principle Independence Invariance Kolmogorov, A. N. Mass measurement Measurement, theory of Monotonicity Preference reversals Probability Ratio scale Representation Scale of measurement Subjective expected utility Subjective probability Transitivity Unboundedness Unconditional probability 

JEL Classifications

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Duncan Luce
    • 1
  • Louis Narens
    • 1
  1. 1.