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Saturday
Nov262011

Market Consensus vs. Scientific Consensus

Some smart researcher should invent a market measure of belief in climate change

An index could be constructed that reflects things like investements in climate change adaptation, investments in new business opportunities created by change in climate, and offering of & changes in price for insurance against adverse impacts.

As the price of the index rises (or falls!) it would be evidence of market consensus on climate change. Market pricing is relevant to trying to figure out lots of things, obviously (indeed, there is a cottage industry  in academia now to create prediction markets to compete with other types of predictive models). But the value of a market consensus measure here is cultural, too: for some citizens, market consensus will have a positive cultural resonance that scientific consensus (at least in this context) lacks. They could be expected, then, to give information from the market more engaged & open-minded attention.

People culturally disinclined to pay attention to markets as information might pay more attention to this one, too, and thus learn about the value of being more open-minded about information sources.

Last but not least, having a market measure of belief in climate change would be great for people trying to investigate dynamics of science communication -- for all the reasons I just gave.

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