Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type



International Affairs

First Advisor

Carlos Martins-Filho


The classic microeconomic utility model makes stringent assumptions about the preferences of individuals; that preferences are well defined and consistent and that individuals are rational actors who choose to maximize their preferences. However, evidence from psychology and behavioral economics suggest those assumptions do not reflect a realistic understanding of human behavior. Instead, a less strict and more accurate interpretation of utility might be the hedonic experience associated with different outcomes, otherwise known as experienced utility. Research is ongoing on how to measure experienced utility. The prevailing metric for experienced utility is subjective well-being survey responses, however those have their shortcomings. The current study investigates and tests the feasibility of using large-scale sentiment analysis of tweets to arrive at an experienced utility metric for cities.