Essays

Bringing probability judgments into policy debates via forecasting tournaments

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Science  03 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6324, pp. 481-483
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal3147

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Abstract

Political debates often suffer from vague-verbiage predictions that make it difficult to assess accuracy and improve policy. A tournament sponsored by the U.S. intelligence community revealed ways in which forecasters can better use probability estimates to make predictions—even for seemingly “unique” events—and showed that tournaments are a useful tool for generating knowledge. Drawing on the literature about the effects of accountability, the authors suggest that tournaments may hold even greater potential as tools for depolarizing political debates and resolving policy disputes.

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