Punditry WITH accountability? Bah!

tetlock_philip.jpgA $200,000 2008 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order was bestowed today upon Philip Tetlock, a Cal business administration and political science professor, who says political pundits should be held accountable for the predictions they make.

Tetlock set forth his prize-winning ideas in his 2005 book, “Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?” He says many political forecasts turn out to be inaccurate, which is troubling since government officials routinely rely on them to make decisions. In a 20-year study of 27,000 predictions by 284 political experts, Tetlock found those who take a big-picture approach are more often correct than those who operate from a single perspective. However, all political “experts” doing forecasts need to receive more training, do more research and be held accountable for their advice, he says.

Award judges called the book “a landmark study that changes our understanding of the way experts perform when they make judgments about world politics.” The work — published by Princeton University press and the recipient of the American Political Science Association‘s Woodrow Wilson Award in 2005 — was selected for its latest honor from among 50 entries from seven countries. Tetlock, at Cal since 2001, holds a doctorate in psychology from Yale University and a master’s degree in psychology from University of British Columbia.

The Grawemeyer Foundation at the University of Louisville annually awards $1 million — $200,000 each for works in music composition, world order, psychology, education and religion. Winners of the other 2008 Grawemeyer awards also are being announced this week.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.