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Predicting the Next Big Thing: Success as a Signal of Poor Judgment

Author

Listed:
  • Jerker Denrell

    () (Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 1HP, United Kingdom)

  • Christina Fang

    () (Department of Management, Stern School of Business, New York University, New York, New York 10012)

Abstract

Successfully predicting that something will become a big hit seems impressive. Managers and entrepreneurs who have made successful predictions and have invested money on this basis are promoted, become rich, and may end up on the cover of business magazines. In this paper, we show that an accurate prediction about such an extreme event, e.g., a big hit, may in fact be an indication of poor rather than good forecasting ability. We first demonstrate how this conclusion can be derived from a formal model of forecasting. We then illustrate that the basic result is consistent with data from two lab experiments as well as field data on professional forecasts from the Wall Street Journal Survey of Economic Forecasts.

Suggested Citation

  • Jerker Denrell & Christina Fang, 2010. "Predicting the Next Big Thing: Success as a Signal of Poor Judgment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(10), pages 1653-1667, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:56:y:2010:i:10:p:1653-1667
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1100.1220
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:spr:jorgde:v:6:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1186_s41469-017-0024-z is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Deaves, Richard & Lei, Jin & Schröder, Michael, 2015. "Forecaster overconfidence and market survey performance," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 218, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
    3. Loock, Moritz & Hinnen, Gieri, 2015. "Heuristics in organizations: A review and a research agenda," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(9), pages 2027-2036.

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