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Ranking Multidimensional Alternatives and Uncertain Prospects

Mongin, Philippe and Pivato, Marcus (2012): Ranking Multidimensional Alternatives and Uncertain Prospects.

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Abstract

We introduce a two-stage ranking of multidimensional alternatives, including uncertain prospects as particular case, when these objects can be given a suitable matrix form. The first stage defines a ranking of rows and a ranking of columns, and the second stage ranks matrices by applying natural monotonicity conditions to these auxiliary rankings. Owing to the Debreu-Gorman theory of additive separability, this framework is sufficient to generate very precise numerical representations. We apply them to three main types of multidimensional objects: streams of commodity baskets through time, monetary input-output matrices, and most extensively, uncertain prospects either in a social or an individual context of decision. Among other applications, the new approach delivers the strongest existing form of Harsanyi's (1955) Aggregation Theorem and casts light on the classic comparison between the ex ante and ex post Pareto principle. It also provides a novel derivation of subjective probability from preferences, in the style of Anscombe and Aumann (1963).

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