Expert judgement for dependence in probabilistic modelling: A systematic literature review and future research directions

Christoph Werner, Tim Bedford, Roger M. Cooke, Anca Hanea, Oswaldo Morales Napoles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Many applications in decision making under uncertainty and probabilistic risk assessment require the assessment of multiple, dependent uncertain quantities, so that in addition to marginal distributions, interdependence needs to be modelled in order to properly understand the overall risk. Nevertheless, relevant historical data on dependence information are often not available or simply too costly to obtain. In this case, the only sensible option is to elicit this uncertainty through the use of expert judgements. In expert judgement studies, a structured approach to eliciting variables of interest is desirable so that their assessment is methodologically robust. One of the key decisions during the elicitation process is the form in which the uncertainties are elicited. This choice is subject to various, potentially conflicting, desiderata related to e.g. modelling convenience, coherence between elicitation parameters and the model, combining judgements, and the assessment burden for the experts. While extensive and systematic guidance to address these considerations exists for single variable uncertainty elicitation, for higher dimensions very little such guidance is available. Therefore, this paper offers a systematic review of the current literature on eliciting dependence. The literature on the elicitation of dependence parameters such as correlations is presented alongside commonly used dependence models and experience from case studies. From this, guidance about the strategy for dependence assessment is given and gaps in the existing research are identified to determine future directions for structured methods to elicit dependence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-819
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • Risk analysis
  • Uncertainty modelling
  • Dependence elicitation
  • Structured expert judgement
  • Dependence modelling


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