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Decision analysis using targets instead of utility functions

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  • Robert Bordley
  • Marco LiCalzi

Abstract

A common precept of decision analysis under uncertainty is the choice of an action which maximizes the expected value of a utility function. Savage's (1954) axioms for subjective expected utility provide a normative foundation for this principle of choice. This paper shows that the same set of axioms implies that one should select an action which maximizes the probability of meeting an uncertain target. This suggests a new perspective and an alternate target-based language for decision analysis. We explore the implications and the advantages of this target-based approach for both individual and group decision-making.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Decisions in Economics and Finance.

Volume (Year): 23 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 53-74

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Handle: RePEc:spr:decfin:v:23:y:2000:i:1:p:53-74

Note: Received: 12 December 1999
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Cited by:
  1. Singer, Nico, 2010. "Safety-first portfolio optimization: Fixed versus random target," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 113, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
  2. Ali E. Abbas & James E. Matheson & Robert F. Bordley, 2009. "Effective utility functions induced by organizational target-based incentives," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(4), pages 235-251.
  3. Dmitriy Volinskiy & Michele Veeman & Wiktor Adamowicz, 2011. "Allocation of public funds to R&D: a portfolio choice-styled decision model and a biotechnology case study," Decisions in Economics and Finance, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 121-139, November.
  4. Elena Vigna, 2009. "Mean-variance inefficiency of CRRA and CARA utility functions for portfolio selection in defined contribution pension schemes," CeRP Working Papers 89, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  5. Castagnoli, Erio & LiCalzi, Marco, 2006. "Benchmarking real-valued acts," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 236-253, November.
  6. Steven Haberman & Elena Vigna, 2002. "Optimal investment strategies and risk measures in defined contribution pension schemes," ICER Working Papers - Applied Mathematics Series 09-2002, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  7. Bordley, Robert F. & Pollock, Stephen M., 2012. "Assigning resources and targets to an organization’s activities," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 220(3), pages 752-761.
  8. DellaVigna, Stefano & LiCalzi, Marco, 2001. "Learning to make risk neutral choices in a symmetric world," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 19-37, January.
  9. Ali E. Abbas & James E. Matheson, 2005. "Normative target-based decision making," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(6), pages 373-385.
  10. Gerrard, Russell & Haberman, Steven & Vigna, Elena, 2004. "Optimal investment choices post-retirement in a defined contribution pension scheme," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 321-342, October.
  11. Haberman, Steven & Vigna, Elena, 2002. "Optimal investment strategies and risk measures in defined contribution pension schemes," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 35-69, August.
  12. Marco LiCalzi, 2005. "A language for the construction of preferences under uncertainty," Game Theory and Information 0509002, EconWPA.
  13. Enrico G. De Giorgi & David B. Brown & Melvyn Sim, 2010. "Dual representation of choice and aspirational preferences," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2010 2010-07, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  14. Elena Vigna, 2009. "Mean-variance inefficiency of CRRA and CARA utility functions for portfolio selection in defined contribution pension schemes," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 108, Collegio Carlo Alberto, revised 2009.
  15. LiCalzi, Marco & Sorato, Annamaria, 2006. "The Pearson system of utility functions," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 172(2), pages 560-573, July.
  16. Sergio Ortobelli & Svetlozar Rachev & Haim Shalit & Frank Fabozzi, 2009. "Orderings and Probability Functionals Consistent with Preferences," Applied Mathematical Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 81-102.

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