IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Attribute Conflict and Preference Uncertainty: The RandMAU Model


  • Gregory W. Fischer

    () (The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708)

  • Jianmin Jia

    () (Faculty of Business Administration, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

  • Mary Frances Luce

    () (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104)


This paper extends the behavioral results reported in Fischer et al. (2000) by developing a model addressing preference uncertainty in multiattribute evaluation. The model is motivated by two hypotheses regarding properties of multiattribute profiles that lead to greater preference uncertainty. Our attribute conflict hypothesis predicts that greater within-alternative conflict (discrepancy among the attributes of an alternative) leads to more preference uncertainty. Our attribute extremity hypothesis predicts that greater attribute extremity (very high or low attribute values) leads to less preference uncertainty. To provide a deeper explanation of attribute conflict and extremity effects, we develop RandMAU, a family of additive (RandAUF) and multiplicative (RandMUF) random weights multiattribute utility models. In RandMAU models, preference uncertainty is represented as random variation in both the weighting parameters governing trade-offs among attributes and the curvature parameters governing single-attribute evaluations. Simulation results show that RandMUF successfully predicts both the attribute conflict and attribute extremity effects exhibited by the experimental participants in Fischer et al. (2000). It also predicts an outcome value effect on error whose form depends on the shape of single-attribute functions and on the type of multiattribute combination rule.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregory W. Fischer & Jianmin Jia & Mary Frances Luce, 2000. "Attribute Conflict and Preference Uncertainty: The RandMAU Model," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(5), pages 669-684, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:46:y:2000:i:5:p:669-684

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jehoshua Eliashberg & John R. Hauser, 1985. "A Measurement Error Approach for Modeling Consumer Risk Preference," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(1), pages 1-25, January.
    2. Kathryn Blackmond Laskey & Gregory W. Fischer, 1987. "Estimating Utility Functions in the Presence of Response Error," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 33(8), pages 965-980, August.
    3. Gregory W. Fischer & Mary Frances Luce & Jianmin Jia, 2000. "Attribute Conflict and Preference Uncertainty: Effects on Judgment Time and Error," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(1), pages 88-103, January.
    4. James G. March, 1978. "Bounded Rationality, Ambiguity, and the Engineering of Choice," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 587-608, Autumn.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Gregory W. Fischer & Mary Frances Luce & Jianmin Jia, 2000. "Attribute Conflict and Preference Uncertainty: Effects on Judgment Time and Error," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(1), pages 88-103, January.
    2. Philippe Delquié, 2003. "Optimal Conflict in Preference Assessment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(1), pages 102-115, January.
    3. Haiyan Xu & Keith Hipel & D. Kilgour & Ye Chen, 2010. "Combining strength and uncertainty for preferences in the graph model for conflict resolution with multiple decision makers," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 69(4), pages 497-521, October.
    4. Manel Baucells & Rakesh K. Sarin, 2003. "Group Decisions with Multiple Criteria," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(8), pages 1105-1118, August.
    5. Richard M. Anderson & Benjamin F. Hobbs, 2002. "Using a Bayesian Approach to Quantify Scale Compatibility Bias," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(12), pages 1555-1568, December.
    6. repec:eee:intfor:v:33:y:2017:i:3:p:652-661 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Palmeira, Mauricio M. & Krishnan, H. Shanker, 2008. "Criteria instability and the isolated option effect," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 153-167, July.
    8. Elie Ofek & Muhamet Yildiz & Ernan Haruvy, 2007. "The Impact of Prior Decisions on Subsequent Valuations in a Costly Contemplation Model," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(8), pages 1217-1233, August.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:46:y:2000:i:5:p:669-684. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.