Published Dec 23, 2009
Thomas L. Saaty Luis G. Vargas Rozann Whitaker


The paper provides an overview that covers the main criticisms of the AHP and the authors’ replies to them. Because there have been many papers that reply to criticisms, the thrust here is to classify them and reply to them briefly in each category without giving lengthy repetitions of what is already known in the literature.



Download data is not yet available.



Rank reversal, inconsistent judgments, preserving rank, fundamental scale, pairwise comparisons

Bana e Costa, C.A., J.-M. D. Corte and J.-C. Vansnick (2003). MACBETH. Working
Paper 03.56. London, London School of Economics.
Bana e Costa, C.A. and J.-C. Vansnick (2008). A critical analysis of the eigenvalue
method used to derive priorities in the AHP. European Journal of Operational Research
187(3) 1422-1428.
Barr, N. (2004). Economics of the Welfare State. New York, Oxford University Press
Barzilai, J. (1997). Deriving weights from pairwise comparison matrices. Journal of the
Operational Research Society 48(12) 1226-1232.
Barzilai, J. (1998). On the Decomposition of Value Functions. Operations Research
Letters 22 159-170.
Barzilai, J. and F. A. Lootsma (1997). Power Relations and Group Aggregation in the
Multiplicative AHP and SMART. Journal of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis 6 155-165.
Belton, V. & A.E. Gear (1983). On a Short-coming of Saaty's Method of Analytic
Hierarchies. Omega 11(3) 228-230.
Blumenthal, A. (1977). The Process of Cognition. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey,
Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Boudreaux, D. J. (2008). The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty Foundation for Economic
Education 58(3).
Corbin, R. & A.A.J. Marley (1974). Random Utility Models with Equality: An Apparent,
but not Actual, Generalization of Random Utility Models. Journal of Mathematical
Psychology 11 274-293.
Dehaene, S. (1997). The Number Sense, Oxford University Press.
Dyer, J.S. (1990). Remarks on The Analytic Hierarchy Process. Management Science
36(3) 249-258.
Dyer, J.S. & H.V. Ravinder (1983). Irrelevant Alternatives and the Analytic Hierarchy
Process. Working Paper, The University of Texas at Austin.
Finan & Hurley (2002). The Analytic Hierarchy Process: Can Wash Criteria Be
Ignored? Computers and Operations Research 29(8) 1025-1030.
Harker, P.T. & L.G. Vargas (1990). Reply to "Remarks on The Analytic Hierarchy
Process" By J.S. Dyer. Management Science 36(3) 269-273.
Holder, R.D. (1990). Some Comments on the Analytic Hierarchy Process. Journal of the
Operational Research Society 41(11) 1073-1076.
Hurley, W.J. (2002). Letters to the Editor: Strategic Risk Assessment. Canadian Military
Journal Summer 3-4.
Kamenetzky, R.D. (1982). The Relationship Between the Analytic Hierarchy Process and
the Additive Value Function. Decision Sciences 13(4) 702-713.
Keeney, R.L. & H. Raiffa (1976). Decisions with Multiple Objectives: Preferences and
value Tradeoffs. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Lootsma, F.A. (1993). Scale Sensitivity in the Multiplicative AHP and SMART. Journal
of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis 2, 87-110.
Ma, D. &X. Zheng (1991). 9/9-9/1 Scale Method of AHP. Proceedings of the 2nd Int.'l
Symposium on the AHP, Pittsburgh, PA, University of Pittsburgh. 1, 197-202.
Millet, I. & T.L. Saaty (2000). On the relativity of relative measures – accommodating
both rank preservation and rank reversals in the AHP. European Journal of Operational
Research 121, 205-212.
Perez, J., J.L. Jimeno & E. Mokotoff (2006). Another Potential Shortcoming of AHP.
TOP 14(1) 99-111.
Saaty, T.L. (1990). An Exposition of the AHP in Reply to the Paper: Remarks on the
Analytic Hierarchy Process. Management Science 36(3) 259-268.
Saaty, T.L. (1991a). Rank and the Controversy About the Axioms of Utility Theory ? A
Comparison of AHP and MAUT. The 2nd International Symposium on The Analytic
Hierarchy Process, Pittsburgh, PA.
Saaty, T.L. (1991b). Response to Holder's Comments on the Analytic Hierarchy Process.
The Journal of the Operational Research Society 42(10) 909-914.
Saaty, T. L. & L.G. Vargas (1984). The Legitimacy of Rank Reversal. Omega 12(5) 513-
Saaty, T.L. & L.G. Vargas (1993). Experiments on Rank Preservation and Reversal in
Relative Measurement. Mathematical and Computer Modeling 17(4/5) 13-18.
Saaty, T.L. & L.G. Vargas (2006). The analytic hierarchy process: wash criteria should
not be ignored. Int'l J'l of Management and Decision Making 7(2/3) 180-188.
Saaty, T.L., L.G. Vargas & R. E. Wendell (1983). Assessing Attribute Weights by Ratios.
Omega 11(1) 9-13.
Salo, A.A. & R.P. Hamalainen (1997). On the Measurement of Preferences in the
Analytic Hierarchy Process. Journal of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis 6(6) 309-319.
Salomon, V.A O. (2008). An Example of the Unreliability of MACBETH Applications.
4th International Conference on Production Research, June, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Sarin, R.K. (1982). Strength of Preference and Risky Choice. Operations Research 30(5)
Sen, A. (1993). Markets and Freedom: Achievements and limitations of the market
mechanism in promoting individual freedoms. Oxford Economic Papers 45(4) 519-541.
Schenkerman, S. (1997). Inducement of Nonexistent Order by the Analytic Hierarchy
Process. Decision Sciences 28 (2) 475-482.
Tversky, A., P. Slovic & D. Kahneman (1990). The Causes of Preference Reversal. The
American Economic Review 80(1) 204-215.
Vargas, L.G. (1997). Why the Multiplicative AHP is Invalid: A practical counterexample.
Journal of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis 6, 169-170.
Watson, S.R. & A.N.S. Freeling (1982). Assessing Attribute Weights. Omega 10(6) 582-
Whitaker, R. (2004). Why Barzilai’s Criticisms of the AHP are Incorrect. Int'l Meeting of
the Multi-Criteria Decision Making Society, Whistler, Canada.
Whitaker, R. (2007a). Criticisms of the Analytic Hierarchy Process: Why they often
make no sense. Mathematical and Computer Modeling 46(7/8) 948-961.
Whitaker, R. (2007b). Validation Examples of the Analytic Hierarchy Process and
Analytic Network Process. Mathematical and Computer Modelling 46(7/8) 840-859.
Essays, Reviews & Comments

Most read articles by the same author(s)