Transition Studies Review

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 388–403 | Cite as

An Economics of Earthquake Prediction

  • Weifeng Zhong
  • Jiuqi Zhao


For a long time, it is puzzling that in the field of earthquake prediction we have a large number of predictors together with evaluators who are supposed to be in charge of investigating their predictions, the discipline is however still in stagnation until now. We use a game-theoretic model to investigate this issue. In the paper we study a sequential game with two players (a predictor and an evaluator), and find that there always exists a unique equilibrium in which efforts by both parties are low and a learning-by-doing process cannot be triggered. It is then shown that introducing a mandatory exposure to peer review for the evaluator can induce a higher effort in both prediction and investigation.


Sequential game Earthquake prediction Evaluation council Peer review Learning by doing 

JEL Classification




We would like to thank conference participants in 2nd Edition Youth Innovation Competition on Global Governance in Rome, August 2008, for helpful comments. All errors belong to us without doubt.


  1. Geller RJ, Jackson DD, Kagan YY, Mulargia F (1997) Earthquakes cannot be predicted. Science 275:1616–1617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Geller RJ (1999) Without progress no funding. Nature Debate, 18 March 1999Google Scholar
  3. Holmström B (1979) Moral hazard and observability. Bell J Econ 10:74–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Main I (1999) Is the reliable prediction of individual earthquakes a realistic scientific goal? Nature Debate 25 February 1999Google Scholar
  5. Olson RS, Podesta B, Nigg JM (1989) The politics of earthquake prediction. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  6. Wyss M (1999) Without funding no progress. Nature Debate, 11 March 1999Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economics and FinanceThe University of Hong KongHong KongPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations