Moallemi, E.A., El Sawah, S., and Ryan, M.J. (2020) Robust Decision Making and Epoch-Era Analysis: A comparison of two model-based approaches for decision making under uncertainty. Technological Forecasting & Social Change.
ABSTRACT: Several model-based frameworks have been introduced in support of robust decision-making. While they agree on a need to cope with uncertainty for robust inferences, the frameworks differ in the way that they treat uncertainty and obtain decision insights. In this article, we compare and contrast two such frameworks: Robust Decision Making and Epoch–Era Analysis. We critically analyse the two frameworks in terms of their aims and expected decision insights, the way they cope with uncertainty, and the extent to which they use model-based and participatory analysis. Our conceptual comparison sheds light on the strengths and limitations of the two frameworks in different contexts. We then apply both frameworks to an illustrative case to analyse their benefits and caveats in practice. We conclude that the superiority of each framework is not unconditional, and depends on the context and the problem at hand. While Robust Decision Making is a more effective framework under contested and imprecise information about the future, Epoch–Era Analysis can work better when stakeholder knowledge about the future allows a deliberative specification of future scenarios. The evaluation of both frameworks’ strengths and limitations can contribute to future methodological developments in the literature on decision-making under uncertainty.