Multi-Attribute Value Theory (MAVT)
MAVT is a foundational idea in Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis. Applications of MAVT seek to describe a decision maker’s value function over two or more objectives and associated criteria. The weighting of the individual value functions can be done formally by the method of indifferences, akin to the underpinnings of stated preference techniques used in the evaluation of non-market impacts in benefit-cost analysis.There are many shortcut methods for eliciting weights. Whatever method is used in their elicitation, the interpretation of the weights is critical. Methods that do not explicitly deal with indifferences are prey to abuse, as users are inclined to specify weights that reflect the relative importance of the attributes, irrespective of the units or the range of consequences relevant to the decision context.