An Expert Elicitation Tool to Capture Probabilistic Estimates of Future Demographic Indicators

Patrice Dion , Statistics Canada
Nora Galbraith, Statistics Canada
Elham Sirag, Statistics Canada

Estimating and communicating probability is difficult, even for experts. As part of its demographic projections program, Statistics Canada has developed a tool for eliciting probabilistic estimates of future demographic indicators from experts. The Microsoft Excel-based survey tool incorporates best practices in the field of elicitation and allows the expert to complete the elicitation exercise remotely. A key component of the elicitation tool is the visual representation of the quantitative estimates of uncertainty provided by the respondent, a feature which greatly facilitates the estimation process. This visualization is achieved via the application of Thomas Keelin’s flexible ‘metalog’ distribution. While the elicitation tool could be applied to any subject for which uncertainty must be measured in a probabilistic manner, this protocol offers several benefits for the production of demographic projections specifically; foremost, the fact that the output can be applied to the production of probabilistic projections.

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 Presented in Session 3. Population, Development, & the Environment; Data & Methods; Applied Demography