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Elicitation and Context Effects in Judgments: Fixed Sum Versus Fixed Scale Frames


  • John R. Doyle

    (Cardiff Business School, University of Wales, Cardiff CF1 3EU, United Kingdom)


Two apparently similar methods for making numerical judgments about a set of objects (point allocation and direct rating) have been shown to yield different profiles of values (here, numerical judgments) attached to Ranks. Direct rating typically leads to a nearly linear relationship of Value with Rank. When using point allocation, people tend to produce a half U-shape of Value with Rank, evidenced by a positive quadratic term in Rank, which is not present for direct rating. We argue that point allocation imposes a fixed-sum frame on the judgment task. Furthermore, certain problems, such as allocating a budget, are intrinsically framed as fixed-sum. These problems also lead to quadratic curvature of numerical judgment with Rank. We discuss the implications of these effects, both in formal and informal contexts.

Suggested Citation

  • John R. Doyle, 1999. "Elicitation and Context Effects in Judgments: Fixed Sum Versus Fixed Scale Frames," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(7), pages 972-979, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:45:y:1999:i:7:p:972-979

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. F. Hutton Barron & Bruce E. Barrett, 1996. "Decision Quality Using Ranked Attribute Weights," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(11), pages 1515-1523, November.
    2. Weber, Martin & Borcherding, Katrin, 1993. "Behavioral influences on weight judgments in multiattribute decision making," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 1-12, May.
    3. Kmietowicz, ZW & Pearman, AD, 1984. "Decision theory, linear partial information and statistical dominance," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 391-399.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bottomley, Paul A. & Doyle, John R., 2013. "Comparing the validity of numerical judgements elicited by direct rating and point allocation: Insights from objectively verifiable perceptual tasks," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 228(1), pages 148-157.


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