Richard W. Katz and Jeffrey K. Lazo
This article, which deals with methods for quantifying the economic value of weather and climate forecasts, is organized as follows. Section 2 provides some background on methods used to produce weather and climate forecasts, including the distinction between “weather” and “climate.” Section 3 introduces the concept of the economic value of imperfect information, based on the framework of decision theory and expected utility maximization. Section 4 reviews specific decision-analytic studies of the economic value of weather and climate forecasts. As a complement to the decision-theoretic approach, nonmarket valuation of weather and climate forecasts based on stated preference methods are described in Section 5. As an example, a recent survey of the public to obtain willingness-to-pay estimates for the economic value of improved hurricane forecasts is treated in detail. Finally, Section 6 consists of a discussion focusing on future research directions that could result in improved assessment of the economic value of weather and climate forecasts.
Michael S. Lewis-Beck and Charles Tien
This article, which reviews the nature of election forecasting, first defines forecasting as it applies to elections, and next looks at election forecasting history. Then, it examines the different approaches to election forecasting, focusing on statistical models. After presentation of a generic example of such a model specification, the article reviews template equations for more than one country, and shows that a political economic explanation is at the core of most equations. An issue that arises here concerns which economic predictor variables are preferred. This question receives thorough discussion, through explication of the UK case. Penultimately, the article discusses how to evaluate model quality, and concludes with the development of a leading example, that of forecasting US presidential elections.
This article reviews sample survey methods for estimating the number of war-related deaths. That different surveys using seemingly similar methodologies have produced widely differing estimates of Iraq war deaths has made this method somewhat controversial. The existing literature focuses strongly on death, perhaps because this is the most dramatic human cost of war. The article identifies a number of factors to consider in evaluating conflict surveys, including sampling procedures, mechanisms for ensuring the integrity of the data-collection process, the appropriateness of extrapolations, and the setting of baselines in the case of excess-death calculations.
This chapter presents the fair social ordering approach to policy assessment. In an economic model, a social ordering function (SOF) associates each economy in the domain with a complete ranking of the allocations. This chapter describes the main achievements of the SOF theory. It presents two applications, which show how SOF’s can be used to evaluate policies. The first application concerns labor income taxation. The second application concerns the measurement of poverty. Finally, This chapter discusses the relationship between the SOF approach and some other approaches to the construction of criteria to evaluate policies.