October surprise in Austria

by John Quiggin on October 4, 2006

The Socialists won a surprise victory (or at least plurality) in the recent Austrian elections. The outcome appears to promise a departure from power for Jorg Haider, although the combined vote of the far-right parties was still 15 per cent, which is disappointing.

For CT election-followers, the outcome is of interest in another respect. According to the reports I’ve read, all the polls and all the pundits got this one wrong. So, if betting markets got it right, that would be pretty strong support for claims about the wisdom of crowds. But my (admittedly desultory) scan hasn’t produced any info. Can anyone point to market odds for this outcome?

{ 4 comments }

1

leederick 10.04.06 at 7:23 am

“…if betting markets got it right, that would be pretty strong support for claims about the wisdom of crowds.”

You’d posted the same thought before, but it’s just not true.

It’s crazy to test alternative A against alternative B by picking examples after the fact where A got it wrong and looking to see if B got it right. Had I tossed a coin I would have had a 50% of getting the result right, but this wouldn’t provide ‘strong support’ for claims about the effectiveness of cleromancy relative to polls.

Think about it. The best case scenario is that B beats A. The worst case is that they draw. This ‘test’ tells you nothing about whether B is better than A, it just tells you that they don’t make identical predictions.

2

lago 10.04.06 at 9:05 am

John, you’re an economist. Just assume one exists and write the rest of the post.

3

finnsense 10.04.06 at 1:57 pm

leederick,

What? Of course it is not proof on its own but it is evidence in favour of (potentially). The point John was surely making was that this was one of those situations where one might be able to see a difference because of course in most elections, both the crowd and the polls get it right.

4

Eamonn Fitzgerald 10.05.06 at 7:35 am

“End of an era looms for far right populist Haider” — The Guardian, September 28, 2006

“The outcome appears to promise a departure from power for Jorg Haider” — John Quiggin, October 4, 2006

For once, I get to beat Tim Blair when it comes to spotting a Quigginism

Comments on this entry are closed.