Quantifying the Effects of Expert Selection and Elicitation Design on Experts' Confidence in Their Judgments About Future Energy Technologies.
Nemet, Gregory F
Anadon, Laura Diaz
Risk analysis : an official publication of the Society for Risk Analysis
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Nemet, G. F., Anadon, L. D., & Verdolini, E. (2017). Quantifying the Effects of Expert Selection and Elicitation Design on Experts' Confidence in Their Judgments About Future Energy Technologies.. Risk analysis : an official publication of the Society for Risk Analysis, 37 (2), 315-330. https://doi.org/10.1111/risa.12604
Expert elicitations are now frequently used to characterize uncertain future technology out-comes. However, their usefulness is limited, in part because: estimates across studies are not easily comparable; choices in survey design and expert selection may bias results; and over-conﬁdence is a persistent problem. We provide quantitative evidence of how these choices affect experts’ estimates. We standardize data from 16 elicitations, involving 169 experts, onthe 2030 costs of ﬁve energy technologies: nuclear, biofuels, bioelectricity, solar, and carbon capture. We estimate determinants of experts’ conﬁdence using survey design, expert characteristics, and public R&D investment levels on which the elicited values are conditional.Our central ﬁnding is that when experts respond to elicitations in person (vs. online or mail)they ascribe lower conﬁdence (larger uncertainty) to their estimates, but more optimistic assessments of best-case (10th percentile) outcomes. The effects of expert afﬁliation and country of residence vary by technology, but in general: academics and public-sector experts ex-press lower conﬁdence than private-sector experts; and E.U. experts are more conﬁdent than U.S. experts. Finally, extending previous technology-speciﬁc work, higher R&D spending in-creases experts’ uncertainty rather than resolves it. We discuss ways in which these ﬁndings should be seriously considered in interpreting the results of existing elicitations and in designing new ones.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/risa.12604
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/283323