“Diabetes is Scotland’s Bellwether condition.””

*from “The Bellwether Reportby Diabetes Scotland.

From Wikipedia:

“A bellwether is a leader or an indicator of trends.

In politics, the term often applies in a metaphorical sense to characterize a geographic region where political tendencies match in microcosm those of a wider area, such that the result of an election in the former region might predict the eventual result in the latter. In economics, a ‘bellwether’ is a leading indicator of an economic trend.

Sociologists apply the term in the active sense to a person or group of people who tend to create, influence, or set trends.

The term derives from the Middle English bellewether, which referred to the practice of placing a bell around the neck of a castrated ram (a wether) leading a flock of sheep. A shepherd could then note the movements of the animals by hearing the bell, even when the flock was not in sight.

The word was first used in the above meaning in the 15th century.

In the world of economics and finance, a ‘bellwether’ is a leading indicator of an economic trend.

In the stock market, a ‘bellwether’ is a company or stock taken to be a leading indicator of the direction in a sector, in an industry or in the market as a whole. Bellwether stocks therefore serve as short-term guides. JPMorgan Chase is a U.S. example of a bellwether. As one of the major banks in the United States, its stock sets the tone for the rest of the banking industry. JPMorgan Chase also has contracts with companies in other industries, so its performance is reflected in other sectors of the market. Tata Consultancy Services is similarly a bellwether for technology stocks in the Indian markets, BSE and NSE.

Similarly, a bellwether bond is “a government bond whose changes in interest rate are believed to show the future direction of the rest of the bond market.”

The quarterly Bellwether Report, published by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), monitors trends in expenditure in the UK advertising and marketing industry.

In the law of torts, a bellwether trial is a test case intended to try a widely contested issue. Bellwether trials are an increasingly common phenomenon in U.S.legal practice.

In politics, the term bellwether often applies in a metaphorical sense to characterize a geographic region where political tendencies match in microcosm those of a wider area, such that the result of an election in the former region might predict the eventual result in the latter. In a Westminster-style election, for example, a constituency, the control of which tends frequently to change, can have a popular vote that mirrors the result on a national scale.

An electoral bellwether can be a ward, precinct, town, county, or other district that accurately reflects how a geographic region (state, province, etc.) will vote during elections. Bellwethers in the United States typically change every election cycle due to shifts in the electorate. Bellwethers also differ by the type of elections: a midtermbellwether differs from a presidential bellwether or a party primary bellwether.

American statistician and political scientist Edward Tufte and his student Richard Sun defined electoral bellwethers (in the US) into the following categories:

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