Analyzing and Aiding Decision Processes, 14 by Patrick Humphreys

By Patrick Humphreys

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L. Keeney 32 between pi + f and pj- e . Note that all Ph, h # i, j are held fixed in the definition. This definition merely says that given all risks but t w o are fixed, the better balanced these two are, the more equitable the risk. A reasonable assumption might be that a more equitable distribution of risk is preferred t o a less equitable distribution. Observation 3. Given the basic model assumptions and a preference for a more equitable distribution of risk, the utility function for mortality risks must be the multiplicative form (5) where 0 > k > 1 .

The sequential and adversary nature of the process are important factors determining the role that formal analyses can play in influencing the decision outcome. In this paper, we will demonstrate the ways in which risk analyses have been used in a controversial siting issue, the siting of an LNG terminal in California. The conflicting and contradictory results of these studies, we will suggest, is a predictable and important element of the political debate. Not unlike many other areas of scientific investigation, it is difficult, if not impossible, to arrive at indisputable scientific truths especially where the data are scarce and subjective.

Catastrophe A voidance A number of papers, such a Ferreira and Slesin (1976) and Slovic et al. (1 977), suggest that a small probability of a catastrophic loss of life is worse than a larger probability o f a smaller loss of life, given the expected number of fatalities are the same for each case. To be precise, let us say that one prefers catastrophe avoidance if a probability n of having f fatalities is preferred t o a probability 71' of having f fatalities for any f less than f' given that nf = n ' f .

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