The mathematical equivalence of the “spanning tree” and row geometric mean preference vectors and its implications for preference analysis

Michele Lundy, Sajid Siraj, Salvatore Greco

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Abstract

Pairwise comparison is a widely used approach to elicit comparative judgements from a decision maker (DM), and there are a number of methods that can be used to then subsequently derive a consistent preference vector from the DM’s judgements. While the most widely used method is the eigenvector method, the row geometric mean approach has gained popularity due to its mathematical properties and its ease of implementation. In this paper, we discuss a spanning tree method and prove the mathematical equivalence of its preference vector to that of the row geometric mean approach. This is an important finding due to the fact that it identifies an approach for generating a preference vector which has the mathematical properties of the row geometric mean preference vector, and yet, in its entirety, the spanning tree method has more to offer than the row geometric mean method, in that, it is inherently applicable to incomplete sets of pairwise comparison judgements, and also facilitates the use of statistical and visual techniques to gain insights into inconsistency in the DM’s judgements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-208
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Volume257
Issue number1
Early online date27 Jul 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2017

Keywords

  • Decision analysis
  • Pairwise comparisons
  • Multiple criteria analysis
  • Graph theory
  • Spanning trees

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