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The University of Southampton
Centre for Risk Research

Forecasting Elections and Other Things: Where Did It All Go Wrong? Event

Professor Leighton Vaughan-Williams
12:15 - 13:30
25 January 2018
Room 2077, Building 2A, Highfield Campus

Event details

Methodologies designed to forecast event outcomes have been developed and refined in recent times such that by the second decade of the present millennium confidence in our ability to forecast major events was never higher. Each succeeding event outcome seemed to reinforce this sense of confidence in the power of modern forecasting methodologies, and some methodologies in particular. In 2015 the first serious dent in that confidence appeared, with the unexpected outcome of the UK General Election. The Brexit vote in 2016 and the Trump victory in the Electoral College followed, and the shocks were not confined to the political arena. In the same year, 5,000/1 longshots Leicester City FC won football’s Premier League title, to the astonishment of professional prognosticators. The surprise 2017 UK election result shattered much of the remaining confidence and forecasters were increasingly being asked where it had all gone wrong. Just as importantly, what could be done to put it right? In his presentation, Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams will explore the background of our quest to construct a hi-tech crystal ball, and ask whether it is possible to restore confidence in our ability to forecast elections - and other things. Along the way he will be looking at the performance of betting markets, prediction markets, opinion polling, ‘expert’ opinion and forecasting models, offering state-of-the-art findings from his latest big data research, together with a selection of interesting and amusing anecdotes.

Speaker information

Professor Leighton Vanghan-Williams,Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University,is Director of the Political Forecasting Unit, Director of the Betting Research Unit and Professor of Economics and Finance at Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University. He is also editor of the Journal of Prediction Markets and is a regular keynote speaker on the international conference circuit and at after-dinner events.

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