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You may remember Phil Tetlock from our Freakonomics Radio hour-long episode “The Folly of Prediction.” He’s a psychologist at Penn and author of the deservedly well-regarded book Expert Political Judgment. Tetlock and some colleagues have embarked on an ambitious new study of prediction — and even better, they’re looking for volunteers. Specifically, they’re looking for people “who have a serious interest in and knowledge about world affairs, politics, and global economic matters and are interested in testing their own forecasting and reasoning skills.”
Doesn’t that sound like you? You need to be 18 or older, with a college degree. The project even pays a small honorarium. The start date has been pushed back to September, so you better act fast if you want in.
Here’s more information from Tetlock and colleagues: Read More »
Over at Intrade, there are two “hot” markets involving the odds that Congress will raise the U.S. debt ceiling.
- Congress to approve increase in U.S. debt ceiling before midnight on July 31, 2011: 40% (It was 65% a month ago)
- Congress to approve increase in U.S. debt ceiling before midnight Aug. 31, 2011: 75% (It was 85% a month ago)
And at Irish bookmaker PaddyPower.com, here is the line on a Moody’s downgrade:
Will Moody’s downgrade the U.S.?
My good friend Andrew Leigh is the winner of the Young Economist Award, granted every two years to the best Australian-based economist under the age of forty. It’s really a rather splendid achievement. And entirely well-deserved.
Andrew’s career has been quite extraordinary. You see, economics was neither his first career, nor is it his current career. He began life as a star lawyer—clerking for the Aussie equivalent of the Supreme Court, and joining one of the big city firms. He then moved on to his second act as a policy advisor for the center-left politicians in both Australia and the UK, and a think tank in the U.S.
Finally, he began his third act, as an academic economist. Read More »
Stephen J. DUBNER: What does it mean to be a witch exactly in Romania? Are these people that we know here as psychics or fortunetellers, or are they different somehow? Vlad MIXICH: I don’t know how is the fortuneteller in the United States. But here generally they are a woman of different ages. They can–they […] Read More »
Season 1, Episode 4
Fact: Human beings love to predict the future.
Fact: Human beings are not very good at predicting the future.
Fact: Because the incentives to predict are quit imperfect — bad predictions are rarely punished — this situation is unlikely to change.
But wouldn’t it be nice if it did?
That is the gist of our latest hour-long special of Freakonomics Radio, called “The Folly of Prediction.” You can listen or download via the media player embedded inside the post, or read a transcript here. This program and four more hours are being broadcast on public-radio stations across the country this summer, and they’ll all wind up in our podcast stream in short course. See this map of where to find a public radio station near you that plays the show. And you can subscribe to the Freakonomics Radio podcast on iTunes or via RSS. Read More »
OK, so Newt Gingrich’s senior staff have quit. But Newt’s not the news. At least according to the political prediction markets. The real news is that Texas Governor Rick Perry is likely to enter the Republican nomination race. The connection, of course, is that many of the staffers who quit have close ties to Governor Perry.
The figure below tells the story. (Click inside for graph). Since yesterday’s announcement, you can see the markets have re-evaluated Perry’s chances of winning the nomination from around 5%, up to 11%. There’s a tip here for newsgatherers: Focus on the details, and you’ll notice that the Perry’s prediction market rally began just after 11am. But the story broke three hours later, just before 3pm. Read More »
Interesting browsing these days on the prediction market InTrade, which is still mourning the loss of its founder John Delaney (a man I very much enjoyed knowing a bit the past few years):
1. Barack Obama to be re-elected President in 2012: 62.0% chance
2. Mitt Romney to be Republican Presidential Nominee in 2012: 29.6%
3. Sarah Palin to formally announce a run for President before midnight ET on 31 Dec 2011: 41.9%
4. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to no longer be President of Iran before midnight ET 31 Dec 2011: 31.0%
5. Dominique Strauss-Kahn to be guilty of at least one charge: 84.0%
6. Christine Lagarde to be named the next Managing Director of the IMF: 85.0%
7. The U.S. Economy will go into Recession during 2012: 20.0%
We should assume that Nos. 1 and 7 are inversely correlated. I went to the site this morning looking to see if there’s a contract out on Lloyd Blankfein, having read this (NYT) article, but I don’t see one (yet?).
I’m saddened to learn that John Delaney died attempting to reach the summit of Everest. Readers of this blog will know John as the leader of my favorite prediction market, InTrade (and before that, TradeSports). John, or his data, and sometimes his stories, have long graced the pages of this blog, including this Q&A with Dubner. His colleagues know him as an energetic entrepreneur, always trying new things. I also know John as a friend and a collaborator, who was also willing to help crazy academics like myself run new prediction markets, crunch data his markets had generated, or debate what it all means, over a Guinness.
And as much as I knew John as a madcap Irishmen, and true sports fan, I never expected to hear of him drawing his last breath just meters short of the highest peak in the world. Press reports — which include the agonizing detail that John died without knowing his wife just gave birth to a baby girl – are available here and here.