My 2019 Predictions

I am once again making a yearly set of public predictions which I will publicly score early next year, as I did last year and the year before (as well as in other formats and/or less publicly in various forums even earlier.) This is, essentially, a vanity project — predictions benefit greatly from frequent updating, discussion, consensus, and aggregation (especially if the latter two are managed carefully — and interesting and ongoing area of research.) It is helpful to me personally to reflect on my success and failure, and gain insight into my (lack of) accuracy and calibration, but that’s not a reason for anyone else to care.

At the same time, I’ve agreed with those who say it’s important to publicly signal the baseline willingness to make frequent, concrete, and publicly evaluated predictions. Not only do I take the predictions of those who fail to do this less seriously, I have publicly called out pundits, reporters, analysts and others who fail to do this, and will probably do so again in the future. If you talk about the future but don’t make your record clear, you’re doing a disservice to the public. This is doing my very small part to make publicly accountable predictions a norm.

The initial predictions are as-of 1–13–2019, but will (probably) be updated to include my estimates on SSC’s predictions, as well as the expected VOX Future Perfect predictions. Edit to add: As of 1/16, I am predicting on all of the Vox future perfect predictions. Their predictions are in {}

Now, on to the show.


It’s a lot easier to do these predictions in an election year, but I have a few easy-to-quantify things I will mention. Also, since Israeli elections are coming up (in April,) and I’m in Israel, I’m going to risk making a fool of myself and predict a few things on those.

Trump’s RCP average approval rating on 1/1/19 is above 30%/35%/40%/45%/50%, respectively: 95% / 85% / 50% / 40% / 5%.

Trump still president at end of year: 96% {90%} (Note: I was predicting this question before VFP, but they included it.)

VFP: No Democratic presidential candidate will become a clear frontrunner (Predictwise probability of nomination >50%) in the political prediction markets at any point in 2019: 75% {60%}

VFP: The US will not enter a recession: 65% {80%} (My scoring assumes we use NBER’s retrospective peak month. They usually delay announcing for about a year, so this likely can’t be scored until 2020.)

VFP: Congress will not authorize funding for a full-length border wall: 98% {95%} (“Full length” is cheating.)

Added Q: Congress will authorize funding for a border walls of at least $5.7bn: 15%

VFP: US homicides will decline: 75% {80%}


VFP: The United Kingdom will leave the European Union: 65% {80%} (I think an extension past end of March is likely, and cancellation or extensions pushing past Jan 1, 2020 are possible.)

Added: Brexit will be delayed past March 29th (or cancelled): 51%

VFP: Narendra Modi will continue as Indian prime minister after the 2019 elections 70% {60%} (I’m not better informed than Dylan and Kelsey, but I have a stronger trust in polls + stronger prior that dislike of the opposition will translate into a win.)

VFP: Neither India nor China will enter a recession: 80% {70%} (Similar to Dylan’s reasoning, but stronger. But joint questions are annoying.)

Added: India will not enter a recession: 85%

Added: China will not enter a recession: 85%


Netanyahu is prime minister after the Israeli elections: 80%

Netanyahu’s party gets the most votes: 85%

Jewish home passes threshold / gets 6 seats: 60% / 35%

Arab parties (total) seats decline for 11: 70%. (Splitting is dumb, but seems inevitable.)


VFP: Malaria deaths will decrease 75% {80%} (Strongly based on their guess — they know more than I do about this.)

VFP: No additional countries will adopt a universal basic income: 80% {90%} (There are lots of countries that might do something, and the idea is gaining traction, so I’m hedging.)

VFP: More animals will be killed for US human consumption in 2019 than in 2018: 75% {60%} (The trend is strong, the economy is fine. I’m confused that they have their probability so low.)


VFP: Impossible Burger meat will be sold in at least one national grocery chain: 95% {95%}

VFP: Fully autonomous self-driving cars will not be commercially available as taxis or for sale: 70% {90%} (Even if they aren’t price competitive, there’s a huge cachet in being first to market. Someone wants to do it, even if the tech is still too expensive. But they say “real commercial product,” so they might hedge if it’s offered but far too expensive, etc.)

VFP: DeepMind will release an AlphaZero update, or new app, capable of beating humans and existing computer programs at a task in a new domain: 60% {50%} (AlphaGo was October 2015, Alphazero was Dec. 2017. I assume they have more projects that are in the works — unclear if they will release them.)


VFP: Average world temperatures will increase relative to 2018: 65% {60%}

VFP: Global carbon emissions will increase: 80% {80%}

My earlier long-term predictions:

(2017) There will be a Republican primary challenger getting >10% of the primary vote in 2020 (conditional on Trump running) — 60% (was 70%. I’m thinking about total popular vote, and given the structure of primaries, this is a higher bar that I initially thought about. Still, there are a LOT of republicans who hate him, and many more public figures who would switch over if they weren’t scared of what happens when Trump wins.)

(2017) The stock market [Edit: S&P] will go down under President Trump (Conditional on him having a 4 year term, Inauguration-Inauguration) — 60%(no change, was 60%. But I’m affirming because which split congress usually means markets go up, I have greater concerns. I’m updating based partly on results so far, with markets up, and partly on my suspicions that the current gyrations will get worse, and that the current economic mismanagement really is a big problem.)

(2018) The retrospective consensus of economists about the 2017 tax bill will be;
…didn’t increase GDP growth more than 0.2%: 96% (was: 95%)
…that, after accounting for growth, it increased the 10-year deficit
more than $1tr / $1.2tr / $1.5tr, respectively: 93% / 80% / 45% (was: 90% / 70% / 40%. See recent article about how poorly it’s working out.)

(2018) The House will vote to impeach Trump before the end of his current term: 75% (was 65%) Note: 50% vote needed.

(2018) Conditional on impeachment, the senate will convict: 10% (was 20%) Note: 67% vote needed. (Most uncertainty is if he does something additionally crazy, crazy enough to prompt short term worries about safety/stability.)


Still living in Israel at end of year: 97%

I have (some) official academic affiliation: 60%.

I have an affiliation with: F-O/CC-C/Te-I/Other: 40% / 40% / 30% / 20%

My multi-Agent Goodhart paper is accepted into the special issue: 60%

I publish or submit pre-prints of at least 1/2/3 more papers: 90%/80%/60%.

My Google Scholar H-index hits 7 / 8 / 9: 65% / 35% / 5%

My actual (no-self cites, includes non-google sources) H-index hits 6 / 7 : 70% / 30%


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s