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Measuring Consensus in Binary Forecasts: NFL Game Predictions

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Author Info

  • ChiUng Song

    ()
    (Science and Technology Policy Institute)

  • Bryan L. Boulier

    ()
    (Department of Economics The George Washington University)

  • Herman O. Stekler

    ()
    (Department of Economics The George Washington University)

Abstract

Previous research on defining and measuring consensus (agreement) among forecasters has been concerned with evaluation of forecasts of continuous variables. This previous work is not relevant when the forecasts involve binary decisions: up-down or win-lose. In this paper we use Cohen¡¯s kappa coefficient, a measure of inter-rater agreement involving binary choices, to evaluate forecasts of National Football League games. This statistic is applied to the forecasts of 74 experts and 31 statistical systems that predicted the outcomes of games during two NFL seasons. We conclude that the forecasters, particularly the systems, displayed significant levels of agreement and that levels of agreement in picking game winners were higher than in picking against the betting line. There is greater agreement among statistical systems in picking game winners or picking winners against the line as the season progresses, but no change in levels of agreement among experts. High levels of consensus among forecasters are associated with greater accuracy in picking game winners, but not in picking against the line.

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File URL: http://www.gwu.edu/~forcpgm/2008-006.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting in its series Working Papers with number 2008-006.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gwc:wpaper:2008-006

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Keywords: binary forecasts; NFL; agreement; consensus; kappa coefficient;

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  1. Schnader, M. H. & Stekler, H. O., 1991. "Do consensus forecasts exist?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 165-170, August.
  2. Gregory, Allan W & Smith, Gregor W & Yetman, James, 2001. "Testing for Forecast Consensus," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(1), pages 34-43, January.
  3. Rich, R W & Raymond, J E & Butler, J S, 1992. "The Relationship between Forecast Dispersion and Forecast Uncertainty: Evidence from a Survey Data-ARCH Model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(2), pages 131-48, April-Jun.
  4. Kajal Lahiri & J George Wang, 2006. "Subjective Probability Forecasts for Recessions," Business Economics, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 41(2), pages 26-37, April.
  5. Lahiri, Kajal & Teigland, Christie & Zaporowski, Mark, 1988. "Interest Rates and the Subjective Probability Distribution of Inflation Forecasts," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(2), pages 233-48, May.
  6. Lahiri, Kajal & Teigland, Christie, 1987. "On the normality of probability distributions of inflation and GNP forecasts," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 269-279.
  7. Clements, Michael P., 2008. "Consensus and uncertainty: Using forecast probabilities of output declines," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 76-86.
  8. Lahiri, Kajal & Sheng, Xuguang, 2008. "Evolution of forecast disagreement in a Bayesian learning model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 144(2), pages 325-340, June.
  9. Kolb, R. A. & Stekler, H. O., 1996. "Is there a consensus among financial forecasters?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 455-464, December.
  10. Zarnowitz, Victor & Lambros, Louis A, 1987. "Consensus and Uncertainty in Economic Prediction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 591-621, June.
  11. Song, ChiUng & Boulier, Bryan L. & Stekler, Herman O., 2007. "The comparative accuracy of judgmental and model forecasts of American football games," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 405-413.
  12. Gregory, Allan W. & Yetman, James, 2004. "The evolution of consensus in macroeconomic forecasting," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 461-473.
  13. Victor Zarnowitz & Louis A. Lambros, 1983. "Consensus and Uncertainty in Economic Prediction," NBER Working Papers 1171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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