Partial information framework: model-based aggregation of estimates from diverse information sources. (English) Zbl 1459.62011

Summary: Prediction polling is an increasingly popular form of crowdsourcing in which multiple participants estimate the probability or magnitude of some future event. These estimates are then aggregated into a single forecast. Historically, randomness in scientific estimation has been generally assumed to arise from unmeasured factors which are viewed as measurement noise. However, when combining subjective estimates, heterogeneity stemming from differences in the participants’ information is often more important than measurement noise. This paper formalizes information diversity as an alternative source of such heterogeneity and introduces a novel modeling framework that is particularly well-suited for prediction polls. A practical specification of this framework is proposed and applied to the task of aggregating probability and point estimates from two real-world prediction polls. In both cases our model outperforms standard measurement-error-based aggregators, hence providing evidence in favor of information diversity being the more important source of heterogeneity.


62A01 Foundations and philosophical topics in statistics
62B10 Statistical aspects of information-theoretic topics
62M20 Inference from stochastic processes and prediction
62P15 Applications of statistics to psychology
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