Journal of the Operational Research Society

, Volume 60, Supplement 1, pp S33–S40

Fifty years of probabilistic decision analysis: a view from the UK

  • A Morton
  • L D Phillips
Special Issue Paper

DOI: 10.1057/jors.2008.175

Cite this article as:
Morton, A. & Phillips, L. J Oper Res Soc (2009) 60: S33. doi:10.1057/jors.2008.175


In 1959, LJ Savage attended a statistics seminar held in his honour at the University of London, confronting those present with a radically different approach to reasoning about uncertainty. Britain was well placed to respond to Savage, as very similar ideas had been laid out in Britain a full generation earlier, and in the next few decades, British and British-based practitioners and researchers championed a collection of techniques for thinking quantitatively about uncertainty (which we call ‘Probabilistic Decision Analysis’), developing practice, and contributing to theoretic knowledge about the underlying psychology and mathematics. This effectively turned a collection of purely theoretical ideas into a practical modelling technology. In the first decade of the 21st century, some 50 years on, these ideas have made a noticeable influence on practice and thinking in various domains, but numerous challenges still remain.


decision analysisprobabilityriskhistory of OR

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • A Morton
    • 1
  • L D Phillips
    • 1
  1. 1.London School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK