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Suckers Are Born but Markets Are Made: Individual Rationality, Arbitrage, and Market Efficiency on an Electronic Futures Market

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  • Kenneth Oliven

    () (Henry B. Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1000)

  • Thomas A. Rietz

    () (Henry B. Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1000)

Abstract

The Iowa Electronic Markets are specially designed futures markets that appear to aggregate information efficiently to predict events such as election outcomes. Yet, in theory, perfect information aggregation is impossible. Further, the markets are populated by a nonrepresentative sample of mistake-prone and biased traders. That is, traders are prone to the behavioral anomalies predicted by behavioral finance. How can this be reconciled with market efficiency? Here, we take a first step by analyzing the behavior of two self-selected types of traders. Dramatic differences in mistake rates across traders can help us answer the question. Market-making traders who set prices are less mistake prone and appear to be more rational than price-taking traders. This highlights an important feature of markets: marginal (in this case, market making), not average, traders set prices. This can drive the efficiency of market prices in spite of large numbers of traders who display patently suboptimal behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth Oliven & Thomas A. Rietz, 2004. "Suckers Are Born but Markets Are Made: Individual Rationality, Arbitrage, and Market Efficiency on an Electronic Futures Market," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(3), pages 336-351, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:50:y:2004:i:3:p:336-351
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1040.0191
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Choi, Darwin & Hui, Sam K., 2014. "The role of surprise: Understanding overreaction and underreaction to unanticipated events using in-play soccer betting market," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PB), pages 614-629.
    2. Nicholas Seybert & Robert Bloomfield, 2009. "Contagion of Wishful Thinking in Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 738-751.
    3. McGroarty, Frank & ap Gwilym, Owain & Thomas, Steve, 2010. "Market structure and microstructure, in international interest rate futures markets," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 253-266, September.
    4. Page, Lionel, 2009. "Is there an optimistic bias on betting markets?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 70-72, February.
    5. Bialkowski, Jedrzej & Gottschalk, Katrin & Wisniewski, Tomasz Piotr, 2008. "Stock market volatility around national elections," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1941-1953, September.
    6. Patrick Buckley & Fergal O’Brien, 0. "The effect of malicious manipulations on prediction market accuracy," Information Systems Frontiers, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-13.
    7. van Bruggen, G.H. & Spann, M. & Lilien, G.L. & Skiera, B., 2006. "Institutional Forecasting: The Performance of Thin Virtual Stock Markets," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2006-028-MKT, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    8. Muehlfeld, Katrin & Weitzel, Utz & van Witteloostuijn, Arjen, 2013. "Fight or freeze? Individual differences in investors’ motivational systems and trading in experimental asset markets," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 195-209.
    9. Martin Spann & Bernd Skiera, 2009. "Sports forecasting: a comparison of the forecast accuracy of prediction markets, betting odds and tipsters," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(1), pages 55-72.
    10. Ladley, Daniel & Lensberg, Terje & Palczewski, Jan & Schenk-Hoppé, Klaus Reiner, 2015. "Fragmentation and stability of markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 466-481.
    11. W. D. Chen & H. C. Li, 2016. "Wavelet decomposition of heterogeneous investment horizon," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 40(4), pages 714-734, October.
    12. repec:spr:infosf:v:10:y:2008:i:5:d:10.1007_s10796-008-9115-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Abraham Othman & Tuomas Sandholm, 2013. "The Gates Hillman prediction market," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 17(2), pages 95-128, June.
    14. Joyce E. Berg & George R. Neumann & Thomas A. Rietz, 2009. "Searching for Google's Value: Using Prediction Markets to Forecast Market Capitalization Prior to an Initial Public Offering," Management Science, INFORMS, pages 348-361.
    15. Lionel Page & Robert T. Clemen, 2013. "Do Prediction Markets Produce Well‐Calibrated Probability Forecasts?-super-," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(568), pages 491-513, May.
    16. Alasdair Brown, 2013. "Information Acquisition in Ostensibly Efficient Markets," University of East Anglia Applied and Financial Economics Working Paper Series 043, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    17. Goodell, John W. & McGroarty, Frank & Urquhart, Andrew, 2015. "Political uncertainty and the 2012 US presidential election: A cointegration study of prediction markets, polls and a stand-out expert," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 162-171.
    18. Joyce E. Berg & John Geweke & Thomas A. Rietz, 2010. "Memoirs of an indifferent trader: Estimating forecast distributions from prediction markets," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(1), pages 163-186, July.
    19. Riekhof, Hans-Christian & Riekhof, Marie-Catherine & Brinkhoff, Stefan, 2012. "Predictive Markets: Ein vielversprechender Weg zur Verbesserung der Prognosequalität im Unternehmen?," PFH Forschungspapiere/Research Papers 2012/07, PFH Private University of Applied Sciences, Göttingen.
    20. Berlemann, Michael & Vöpel, Henning, 2012. "Tournament incentives and asset price bubbles: Evidence from a field experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 232-235.
    21. Masami Imai & Cameron A. Shelton, 2010. "Elections and Political Risk: New Evidence from Political Prediction Markets in Taiwan," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2010-001, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
    22. repec:spr:infosf:v:19:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10796-015-9617-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Berg, Joyce E. & Nelson, Forrest D. & Rietz, Thomas A., 2008. "Prediction market accuracy in the long run," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 285-300.

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