Marcel Boumans

in Science Outside the Laboratory

Published in print July 2015 | ISBN: 9780199388288
Published online May 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780199388318 | DOI:

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Expert judgment is needed to arrive at complete models. But expert judgment is personal, and experts tend to disagree. This chapter discusses methodologies of consensus. Two often-used methods of combining expert judgments are the committee-consensus method and the Delphi method. Because Roger Cooke considered both methods unscientific, he developed a method of rational consensus. Rational consensus is a weighted aggregation of expert judgments, where the weights are determined on the basis of the expert’s knowledge to judge relevant “seed variables.” Seed variables are variables for which the expert may be expected to make an educated guess. In a science like economics, variables cannot have this role of “calibrating” expert judgments, because their supposed values will have too much uncertainty. Because in economics there is more agreement on the validity of models, consensus should be reached not only be among experts but also about the model of the measurand.

Keywords: committee-consensus method; Delphi method; model-based consensus; rational consensus; seed variables

Chapter.  9901 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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