Stochastic dominance and medical decision making

Moshe Leshno, Haim Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Stochastic Dominance (SD) criteria are decision making tools which allow us to choose among various strategies with only partial information on the decision makers' preferences. The notion of Stochastic Dominance has been extensively employed and developed in the area of economics, finance, agriculture, statistics, marketing and operation research since the late 1960s. For example, it may tell us which of two medical treatments with uncertain outcomes is preferred in the absence of full information on the patients' preferences. This paper presents a short review of the SD paradigm and demonstrates how the SD criteria may be employed in medical decision making, using the case of small abdominal aortic aneurysms as an illustration. Thus, for instance by assuming risk aversion one can employ second-degree stochastic dominance to divide the set of all possible treatments into the efficient set, from which the decision makers should always choose, and the inefficient (inferior) set. By employing Prospect Stochastic Dominance (PSD) a similar division can be conducted corresponding to all S-shaped utility functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-215
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Care Management Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Prospect Stochastic Dominance
  • Stochastic Dominance
  • medical decision making


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