Expert Elicitation for Coast Guard

Coast Guard vesselThe U.S. Coast Guard often promulgates “lower stakes” regulations that, in the absence of empirical data, are guided by expert judgment. To support benefit-cost analysis of such rulemakings, IEc developed a streamlined structured expert elicitation process. Tailored to Coast Guard rules and resource constraints, the process is designed to yield quantitative estimates, in the form of probability distributions, of key risk-related parameters. The process involves several steps:

  • Compile and refine background information to foster a common understanding of the problem.
  • Identify and recruit objective experts to participate in the elicitation.
  • Conduct the elicitation through probabilistic training and a remotely-accessed elicitation tool.
  • Present the elicited judgments and synthesize them as necessary for use in risk models.
  • Document and verify the elicitation process.

IEc’s final report featured a pilot application of the recommended method to a hypothetical safety rulemaking that would align Coast Guard safety procedures with standards observed by private industry associations. Using actual data on maritime fatalities and injuries, IEc identified “precipitating events” (i.e., accident causes) and structured an elicitation in which experts articulated both the probabilities of the precipitating events as well as the associated likelihood of injury or fatality. Finally, IEc combined the expert judgments to estimate the number of avoided fatalities and injuries associated with improved safety procedures.

Throughout the project, IEc consultants worked closely with colleagues at Harvard University’s Centers for Risk Analysis and Health Decision Science. IEc staff presented the recommended methods at the Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis Annual Conference.

More Info Client U.S. Coast Guard