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The Predictive Power of Political Pundits: Prescient or Pitiful?

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  • Phillip Metaxas
  • Andrew Leigh

Abstract

Although Australian political pundits frequently make predictions about the future, little systematic evidence exists on the accuracy of these predictions. To assess the predictive power of experts, we survey the transcripts of two well-known political programs − Insiders and Meet the Press − and record all falsifiable forecasts. Looking at the three months prior to both the 2007 and 2010 Federal elections, we are struck by the paucity of falsifiable predictions, with most pundits heavily qualifying their predictions (so that they can never be said to be wrong). In 32 hours of television, we identify 20 falsifiable forecasts in our sample, of which we judge 13 to be correct. We conclude with some suggestions for political talk shows and for political scientists seeking to better analyse expert predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Phillip Metaxas & Andrew Leigh, 2013. "The Predictive Power of Political Pundits: Prescient or Pitiful?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4261, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4261
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp4261.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Terrance Odean, 1998. "Volume, Volatility, Price, and Profit When All Traders Are Above Average," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 1887-1934, December.
    2. Andrew Leigh & Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Competing Approaches to Forecasting Elections: Economic Models, Opinion Polling and Prediction Markets," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 82(258), pages 325-340, September.
    3. Clemen, Robert T., 1989. "Combining forecasts: A review and annotated bibliography," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 559-583.
    4. Cooper, Arnold C. & Woo, Carolyn Y. & Dunkelberg, William C., 1988. "Entrepreneurs' perceived chances for success," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 97-108.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    expert prediction; forecast accuracy; elections;

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General

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