Conditional distribution analyses of probabilistic forecasts

J. Frank Yates, Shawn P. Curley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Probabilistic forecasts have good ‘external correspondence’ if events that are assigned probabilities close to 1 tend to occur frequently, whereas those assigned probabilities near 0 tend to occur rarely. This paper describes simple procedures for analysing external correspondence into meaningful components that might guide efforts to understand and improve forecasting performance. The procedures focus on differences between the judgements made by the forecaster when the target event occurs, as compared to when it does not. The illustrations involve a professional oddsmaker's predictions of baseball game outcomes, meteorologists' precipitation forecasts and physicians' diagnoses of pneumonia. The illustrations demonstrate the ability of the procedures to highlight important forecasting tendencies that are sometimes more difficult to discern by other means.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-73
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Forecasting
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1985


  • External correspondence
  • Probabilistic forecasts
  • Scoring rule
  • Subjective probability


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