This paper introduces anchor levels as a new tool for multiattribute utility theory. Anchor levels are attribute levels whose values are not affected by other attributes. They allow for new interpretations and generalizations of known representations and utility measurement techniques. Generalizations of earlier techniques can be obtained because cases with complex interactions between attributes can now be handled. Anchor levels serve not only to enhance the generality, but also the tractability, of utility measurements, because stimuli can better be targeted toward the perception and real situation of clients. In an application, anchor levels were applied to the measurement of quality of life during radiotherapy treatment, where there are complex interactions with what happens before and after. Using anchor levels, the measurements could be related exactly to the situation of the clients, thus simplifying the clients’ cognitive burden.

QALY measurement, multiattribute utility, time preference, utility independence, utility measurement,
ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Decision Analysis
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Wakker, P.P, Jansen, S.J.T, & Stiggelbout, A.M. (2004). Levels as a New Tool for the Theory and Measurement of Multiattribute Utility. Decision Analysis, 1(4), 217–234. doi:10.1287/deca.1040.0028