Sustainable Development and Evaluation: A Framework for the Comparison of Multicriteria Decision Methods

De Montis, A., De Toro, P., Droste-Franke, B., Omann, I. & Stagl, S. (2004)

In: Getzner, M., Spash, C. & Stagl, S., Alternatives for Valuing Nature. Routledge.

Many questions concerning sustainable development are characterised by conflicting economic, environmental, societal, technical, and aesthetic objectives. Therefore, in many cases optimal solutions cannot be found easily. Multicriteria decision aid (MCDA) was stated to be useful for the support of decision making under such conditions. MCDA methods differ, however, in the way the idea of multiple criteria is operationalised. In particular, each method shows its own properties, with respect to the way of assessing criteria, the application and computation of weights, the mathematical algorithm utilised, the model to describe the system of preferences of the individual facing decision-making, the way of dealing with uncertainty embedded in the data set, and the ability in allowing stakeholders to participate in decision making. This paper investigates the differences between seven frequently used MCDA methods: MAUT, AHP, Evamix, ELECTRE III, Regime, NAIADE, and MOP/GP. The aim of this study is to compare the different methods by using a set of quality criteria, in order to identify their strengths and weaknesses, in the light of the issues relevant for sustainable development. It provides MCDA users with rough guidelines for choosing the method, that “best” suits the requirements of the decision-making problem at hand.

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