Value of information and portfolio decision analysis
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Value of information (VOI) is the amount a decision maker is willing to pay for information to better understand the uncertainty surrounding a decision, prior to making the decision. VOI is a key part of decision analysis (DA). Especially in this age of information explosion, evaluating information value is critical. VOI research tries to derive generic conclusions regarding VOI properties. However, in most cases, VOI properties rely on the specific decision context, which means that VOI properties may not be generalizable. Thus, instead, VOI properties have been derived for typical or representative decisions. In addition, VOI analysis as a method of DA has been successfully applied to practical decision problems in a variety of industries. This approach has also been adopted as the basis of a heuristic algorithm in the latest research in simulation and optimization. Portfolio Decision Analysis (PDA), rooted in DA, is a body of theories, methods, and practices that seek to help decision makers with limited budget select a subset of candidate items through mathematical modeling that accounts for relevant constraints, preferences, and uncertainties. As one of the main tools for resource allocation problems, its successful implementation, especially in capital-intensive industries such as pharmaceuticals and oil & gas, has been documented (Salo, Keisler and Morton 2011). Although VOI and PDA have been extensively researched separately, their combination has received attention only recently. Resource allocation problems are ubiquitous. Although significant attention has been directed at it, less energy has been focused on understanding the VOI within this setting, and the role of VOI analysis to solve resource allocation problems. This belief motivates the present work. We investigate VOI properties in portfolio contexts that can be modeled as a knapsack problem. By further looking at the properties, we illustrate how VOI analysis can derive portfolio management insights to facilitate PDA process. We also develop a method to evaluate the VOI of information portfolios and how the VOI will be affected by the correlations between information sources. Last, we investigate the performance of a widely implemented portfolio selection approach, the benefit-cost ratio (BCR) approach, in PDA practice.