Robust Decision Making

Shaping the Future

The 2003 book Shaping the Next One Hundred Years: New Methods for Quantitative, Long-Term Policy Analysis lays out four key elements for successful long-term policy analysis:

  • Consider large ensembles of plausible futures, not a single best estimate forecast
  • Seek robust strategies that perform well across many plausible futures, not a strategy optimal for one particular view
  • Employ adaptive strategies, ones that evolve over time in response to changing conditions
  • Use the computer as a “prosthesis for the imagination,” not a calculator

Chapter 3 of this book describes robust decision-making (RDM), a quantitative policy analytic method that captures these key elements.

Many Pardee Center projects and papers use this RDM approach.


Shaping Tomorrow Today: Near-Term Steps Towards Long-Term Goals — Aug. 2009

Pardee Workshop, Jan. 2009

In March 2009, the RAND Pardee Center hosted a workshop called “Shaping Tomorrow Today: Near-Term Steps Towards Long-Term Goals.” The workshop gave policymakers and analysts an opportunity to explore new methods and tools that can help improve long-term decisionmaking. The proceedings from this important event are now available.


Managing the Risk of Uncertain Threshold Responses: Comparison of Robust, Optimum, and Precautionary Approaches — Oct 2007

Risk Analysis

Robert J. Lempert and Myles T. Collins

This study uses a simple computer simulation model to compare several alternative frameworks for decision making under uncertainty–optimal expected utility, the precautionary principle, and three different approaches to robust decision making–for addressing the challenge of adding pollution to a lake without triggering unwanted and potentially irreversible eutrophication.


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Scenario Discovery Toolkit Now Available on the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN) — 2008

Scenario discovery supports robust decision making by identifying scenarios that represent the vulnerabilities of proposed policies.