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Utility Functions for Multiattributed Consequences


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  • Ralph L. Keeney

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

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    One of the important methodological problems concerning the application of decision analysis to complex problems is the restrictiveness of existing techniques for systematically assessing multiattributed utility functions valid for decision making under uncertainty. This is the problem addressed in this paper. Operational assumptions are postulated about the decision maker's preferences for multiattributed consequences, and functional forms of utility functions satisfying these assumptions are derived. The results are a number of representation theorems which simplify the assessment of the utility function provided the requisite assumptions hold. A special case of these results is the well-known additive utility function. A procedure to verify the appropriateness of the necessary assumptions is included.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 18 (1972)
    Issue (Month): 5-Part-1 (January)
    Pages: 276-287

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:18:y:1972:i:5-part-1:p:276-287

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    Cited by:
    1. Cesar Calvo & Stefan Dercon, 2007. "Vulnerability to Poverty," CSAE Working Paper Series 2007-03, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    2. Zhang, Junyi & Kuwano, Masashi & Lee, Backjin & Fujiwara, Akimasa, 2009. "Modeling household discrete choice behavior incorporating heterogeneous group decision-making mechanisms," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 230-250, February.
    3. John R. Hauser, 1977. "Consumer Preference Axioms: Behavioral Postulates for Describing and Predicting Stochastic Choice," Discussion Papers 287, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    4. Dillon, John L. & Perry, Chad, 1977. "Multiattribute Utility Theory, Multiple Objectives And Uncertainty In Ex Ante Project Evaluation," Review of Marketing and Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 45, June.
    5. Zhang, Junyi & Timmermans, Harry J. P. & Borgers, Aloys, 2005. "A model of household task allocation and time use," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 81-95, January.
    6. Fry, Phillip C. & Rinks, Dan B. & Ringuest, Jeffrey L., 1996. "Comparing the predictive validity of alternatively assessed multi-attribute preference models when relevant decision attributes are missing," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 94(3), pages 599-609, November.
    7. Anderson, Jock R. & Hardaker, J. Brian, 1972. "An Appreciation of Decision Analysis in Management," Review of Marketing and Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 40(04), December.


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