Does AHP help us make a choice? An experimental evaluation

A. Ishizaka, D. Balkenborg, T. Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this paper, we use experimental economics methods to test how well Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) fares as a choice support system in a real decision problem. AHP provides a ranking that we statistically compare with three additional rankings given by the subjects in the experiment: one at the beginning, one after providing AHP with the necessary pair-wise comparisons and one after learning the ranking provided by AHP. While the rankings vary widely across subjects, we observe that for each individual all four rankings are similar. Hence, subjects are consistent and AHP is, for the most part, able to replicate their rankings. Furthermore, while the rankings are similar, we do find that the AHP ranking helps the decision makers reformulate their choices by taking into account suggestions made by AHP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1801-1812
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Operational Research Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements—We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Freiwillige Akademische Gesellschaft Basel and the University of Exeter. We wish to thank Tim Miller for valuable research assistance and comments. We also thank also the two anonymous reviewers for the valuable feedback and constructive criticism.


  • analytic hierarchy process (AHP)
  • decision analysis
  • experimental economics
  • multiple criteria decision aid
  • validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Strategy and Management
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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