Multiattribute utility satisfying a preference for combining good with bad


Journal Article

An important challenge in multiattribute decision analysis is the choice of an appropriate functional form for the utility function. We show that if a decision maker prefers more of any attribute to less and prefers to combine good lotteries with bad, as opposed to combining good with good and bad with bad, her utility function should be a weighted average (a mixture) of multiattribute exponential utilities ("mixex utility"). In the single-attribute case, mixex utility satisfies properties typically thought to be desirable and encompasses most utility functions commonly used in decision analysis. In the multiattribute case, mixex utility implies aversion to any multivariate risk. Risk aversion with respect to any attribute decreases as that attribute increases. Under certain restrictions, such risk aversion also decreases as any other attribute increases, and a multivariate ones-witch property is satisfied. One of the strengths of mixex utility is its ability to represent cases where utility independence does not hold, but mixex utility can be consistent with mutual utility independence and take on a multilinear form. An example illustrates the fitting of mixex utility to preference assessments. ©2009 INFORMS.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Tsetlin, I; Winkler, RL

Published Date

  • December 1, 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 55 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 1942 - 1952

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1526-5501

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0025-1909

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1287/mnsc.1090.1082

Citation Source

  • Scopus