Finding a foothold: Assessing forecastability in transnational organised crime


States and intergovernmental bodies increasingly recognise the threats transnational organised crime (TOC) poses to human wellbeing, state legitimacy and the global economy, but we do not have a clear understanding of its scale or scope. This paper outlines a conceptual background for understanding and quantifying the future in broad terms and in the context of TOC. It provides an overview of data estimation and modelling, and offers a framework for beginning to think about forecasting types of TOC. The paper offers an assessment of ‘forecastability’ in five TOC categories, reviewing research and data estimation in each category.

About the authors

Alex Porter is a research consultant at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver. Until June 2017, he was a research consultant for the African Futures and Innovation Programme at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria. Recently, he has written and/or contributed to a number of sector and country specific trends reports and provided longterm policy analyses for clients such as USAID, Irish Aid, Western Cape provincial government of South Africa, and the Institute for Security Studies.

David Bohl is a research associate at the Frederick S. Pardee Center. His research interests are in using, developing and promoting quantitative methods to engage with issues impacting long-term human development. David’s other focuses include the development of a crowd-sourced data analytics platform, trends analysis and scenario development for national government, inter-governmental, and nongovernmental partners, and extending the modelling capabilities of the International Futures integrated forecasting platform to better understand and forecast changing patterns of global trade, migration, and political relations.

Jonathan D Moyer is the assistant professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures, home of the International Futures (IFs) integrated assessment platform. His work is focused on three core areas related to long-term policy analysis and forecasting: strategic planning, data and tool creation, and the study of state fragility. His recent projects include trends reports, scenario analyses, trainings and IFs development for sponsors such as USAID, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the UN Development Program, the Atlantic Council, Zurich Insurance, the Western Cape provincial government of South Africa, and Arrow Electronics.

Lily Welborn is a researcher at the African Futures and Innovation Programme at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa. Lily previously worked at the Frederick S. Pardee Center as a Research Assistant and Research Affiliate, working on projects relating to transnational organised crime, global human development trends, and maintenance of the International Futures model. She has an MA in International Studies with a specialisation in International Security from the Josef Korbel School at the University of Denver.

Photo: Pascale Bireaud / Wikimedia Commons

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ENACT is implemented by the Institute for Security Studies and INTERPOL, in
affiliation with the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime
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