ASSESS -an Interactive Program for Utility Assessment

ASSESS is an interactive computer program for assessing utility functions. A utility function is a quantitative scale of how an individual values different levels of a payoff, for example, the personal value that you attach to various monetary outcomes. The utility function of an individual may be used to help him/her make decisions among complex alternatives involving risk and multiple objectives. ASSESS can elicit a user’s preferences towards risky alternatives using a variety of methods, derive the resulting utility measures, and fit a function through these data. To calculate a utility function, ASSESS assumes that the respondent’s risk preferences comply with a number of rationality principles. Although this assumption may be imperfectly met, ASSESS can be useful to investigate whether and how an individual’s preferences depart from consistency, for example, by using different assessment methods and checking for consistency. It can also be a helpful tool for those who would like to think in a more lucid, rigorous fashion about their risk taking attitude.

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