When is Uncertainty About Uncertainty Worth Characterizing?
Brown, Gerald G.
Cox, Louis Anthony
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In areas of risk assessment ranging from terrorism to health, safety, and the environment, authoritative guidance urges risk analysis to quantify and display their uncertainties about inputs that significantly affect the results of an analysis, including their uncertainties about subjective probabilities of events. Such "uncertainty characterization" is said to be an important part of fully and honestly informing decision makers about the estimates and uncertainties in analyses that support policy recommendations, enabling them to make better decisions. But is it? Characterization of uncertainties about probabilities often carries zero value of information and accomplishes nothing to improve risk-management decisions. Uncertainties about consequence probabilities are not worth characterizing when final actions must be taken based on information available now.
Interfaces, 38, pp. 465-468.The article of record as published may be located at http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/inte.1080.0397
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