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Communication of uncertainty in weather forecasts

Author

Listed:
  • Marimo, Pricilla
  • Kaplan, Todd R
  • Mylne, Ken
  • Sharpe, Martin

Abstract

Experimental economics methods were used to assess public understanding of information in weather forecasts and test whether the participants were able to make better decisions using the probabilistic information presented in table or bar graph formats than if they are presented with a deterministic forecast. We asked undergraduate students from the University of Exeter to choose the most probable temperature outcome between a set of “lotteries” based on the temperature up to five days ahead. If they choose a true statement, participants were rewarded with a cash reward. Results indicate that on average participants provided with uncertainty information make better decisions than those without. Statistical analysis indicates a possible learning effect as the experiment progressed. Furthermore, participants who were shown the graph with uncertainty information took on average less response time compared to those who were shown a table with uncertainty information.

Suggested Citation

  • Marimo, Pricilla & Kaplan, Todd R & Mylne, Ken & Sharpe, Martin, 2012. "Communication of uncertainty in weather forecasts," MPRA Paper 38287, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38287
    as

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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/38287/1/MPRA_paper_38287.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Izak Benbasat & Albert S. Dexter, 1985. "An Experimental Evaluation of Graphical and Color-Enhanced Information Presentation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(11), pages 1348-1364, November.
    2. Edward J. Lusk & Michael Kersnick, 1979. "The Effect of Cognitive Style and Report Format on Task Performance: The MIS Design Consequences," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(8), pages 787-798, August.
    3. William Remus, 1984. "An Empirical Investigation of the Impact of Graphical and Tabular Data Presentations on Decision Making," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(5), pages 533-542, May.
    4. Winett, Richard A & Kagel, John H, 1984. " Effects of Information Presentation Format on Resource Use in Field Studies," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 655-667, September.
    5. Cardinaels, Eddy, 2008. "The interplay between cost accounting knowledge and presentation formats in cost-based decision-making," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 582-602, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    experimental economics; uncertainty; decision making; bar graph; table;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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