Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tetlock wins Grawemeyer

From the Chronicle:

Berkeley Professor Wins Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order

Philip E. Tetlock, a professor of business administration and political science at the University of California at Berkeley, has won the 2008 Grawemeyer Award for “ideas improving world order,” the University of Louisville has announced. Mr. Tetlock will receive the $200,000 prize for his research on the accuracy of high-profile advisers on issues of public policy.

Predictions on political issues are frequently wrong, says Mr. Tetlock, which is unfortunate because lawmakers frequently rely on such analyses to shape policy. In a 20-year study of 27,000 predictions made by 284 “experts” cited in the news media, he found that, very often, the professionals were no more accurate in their crystal-ball gazing than ordinary people.

“In this age of academic hyperspecialization, there is no reason for supposing that contributors to top journals—distinguished political scientists, area-study specialists, economists, and so on—are any better than journalists or attentive readers of The New York Times in ‘reading’ emerging situations,” writes Mr. Tetlock in his 2005 book about the study, Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know? (Princeton).

Experts need to receive more training and be held publicly accountable for their advice, he argues in the book.

Dan Drezner blogged about Tetlock's findings here, here, and here. Tyler Cowen called Expert Political Judgment "one of the (few) must-read social science books of 2005." I worried about the propensity of public-intellectual academics to make pronouncements as if their expertise went far beyond its genuine boundaries my very first substantive post on this blog (scroll down, permalinks that old seem to have rusted away).