Attribute Dominance Utility

Publication Type: 
Ali E. Abbas
R. A. Howard
We present an analogy between joint cumulative probability distributions and a class of multiattribute utility functions, which we call attribute dominance utility functions. Attribute dominance utility functions permit assessing multiattribute utility functions using common techniques of joint probability assessment such as marginal-conditional assessments and the method of copulas. By itself, this class of utility functions appears in many cases of decision analysis practice. Furthermore, we show that many functional forms of multiattribute utility function can be decomposed into attribute dominance utility functions that are easier to elicit. We introduce the notion of utility inference analogous to Bayes’ rule for probability inference and provide a graphic representation of attribute dominance utility functions, which we call utility diagrams.