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Three ways in which pandemic models may perform a pandemic

van Basshuysen, Philippe and White, Lucie and Khosrowi, Donal and Frisch, Mathias (2021) Three ways in which pandemic models may perform a pandemic. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Models may not only represent, but also influence their targets in important ways. While models' ability to influence outcomes has been studied in relation to economic models, often under the label "performativity", we argue that this phenomenon also pertains to epidemiological models, such as those used for forecasting the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic. After identifying three ways in which a model by the COVID-19 Response Team at Imperial College London (Ferguson et al. 2020) may have influenced scientific advice, policy, and individual responses, we consider the implications of epidemiological models' performative capacities. We argue, first, that performativity may impair models' ability to successfully predict the course of an epidemic; and second, that it provides an additional respect in which these models can be successful, namely by changing the course of an epidemic.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
van Basshuysen, Philippep.c.van-basshuysen@lse.ac.uk0000-0003-1947-9309
White, Lucielucie.white@philos.uni-hannover.de0000-0001-8292-3789
Khosrowi, Donaldonal.khosrowi@durham.ac.uk
Frisch, Mathias
Keywords: COVID-19; epidemiological models; performativity; prediction; success; model evaluation.
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Economics
Specific Sciences > Medicine > Epidemiology
General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > Science and Policy
Depositing User: Mr. Philippe van Basshuysen
Date Deposited: 14 May 2021 03:33
Last Modified: 14 May 2021 03:33
Item ID: 19036
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
Specific Sciences > Economics
Specific Sciences > Medicine > Epidemiology
General Issues > Models and Idealization
General Issues > Science and Policy
Date: 13 May 2021
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19036

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