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Prediction Markets in Theory and Practice

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  • Wolfers, Justin
  • Zitzewitz, Eric

Abstract

Prediction Markets, sometimes referred to as 'information markets', 'idea futures' or 'event futures', are markets where participants trade contracts whose payoffs are tied to a future event, thereby yielding prices that can be interpreted as market-aggregated forecasts. This article summarizes the recent literature on prediction markets, highlighting both theoretical contributions that emphasize the possibility that these markets efficiently aggregate disperse information, and the lessons from empirical applications which show that market-generated forecasts typically outperform most moderately sophisticated benchmarks. Along the way, we highlight areas ripe for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolfers, Justin & Zitzewitz, Eric, 2006. "Prediction Markets in Theory and Practice," CEPR Discussion Papers 5578, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5578
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Manski, Charles F., 2006. "Interpreting the predictions of prediction markets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(3), pages 425-429, June.
    2. Wolfers, Justin & Zitzewitz, Eric, 2006. "Five Open Questions About Prediction Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 5562, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Colin F. Camerer, 1998. "Can Asset Markets Be Manipulated? A Field Experiment with Racetrack Betting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 457-482, June.
    4. Smith, Vernon L, 1985. "Experimental Economics: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 264-272, March.
    5. Erik Snowberg & Justin Wolfers & Eric Zitzewitz, 2007. "Partisan Impacts on the Economy: Evidence from Prediction Markets and Close Elections," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 807-829.
    6. Knight*, Brian, 2007. "Are policy platforms capitalized into equity prices? Evidence from the Bush/Gore 2000 Presidential Election," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 389-409, February.
    7. Plott, Charles R. & Chen, Kay-Yut, 2002. "Information Aggregation Mechanisms: Concept, Design and Implementation for a Sales Forecasting Problem," Working Papers 1131, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
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    9. Berg, Joyce & Forsythe, Robert & Nelson, Forrest & Rietz, Thomas, 2008. "Results from a Dozen Years of Election Futures Markets Research," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
    10. Refet Gürkaynak & Justin Wolfers, 2005. "Macroeconomic Derivatives: An Initial Analysis of Market-Based Macro Forecasts, Uncertainty, and Risk," NBER Chapters,in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2005, pages 11-50 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Erik Snowberg & Justin Wolfers, 2010. "Explaining the Favorite-Long Shot Bias: Is it Risk-Love or Misperceptions?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 723-746, August.
    12. Sunder, S., 1992. "Experimental Asset Markets: A Survey," GSIA Working Papers 1992-19, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
    13. Wolfers Justin & Zitzewitz Eric, 2004. "Experimental Political Betting Markets and the 2004 Election," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-8, October.
    14. Justin Wolfers & Eric Zitzewitz, 2006. "Interpreting prediction market prices as probabilities," Working Paper Series 2006-11, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    15. Grossman, Sanford J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Information and Competitive Price Systems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 246-253, May.
    16. Justin Wolfers & Eric Zitzewitz, 2004. "Prediction Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 107-126, Spring.
    17. Robin Hanson, 2006. "Designing real terrorism futures," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 257-274, July.
    18. repec:reg:rpubli:82 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Milgrom, Paul & Stokey, Nancy, 1982. "Information, trade and common knowledge," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 17-27, February.
    20. Slemrod, Joel & Greimel, Timothy, 1999. "Did Steve Forbes scare the US municipal bond market?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 81-96, October.
    21. repec:spr:infosf:v:5:y:2003:i:1:d:10.1023_a:1022058209073 is not listed on IDEAS
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    24. Justin Wolfers & Eric Zitzewitz, 2009. "Using Markets to Inform Policy: The Case of the Iraq War," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(302), pages 225-250, April.
    25. Paul W. Rhode & Koleman S. Strumpf, 2004. "Historical Presidential Betting Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 127-141, Spring.
    26. Colin Camerer, 1998. "Can asset markets be manipulated? A field experiment with racetrack betting," Natural Field Experiments 00222, The Field Experiments Website.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Coulomb, Renaud & Sangnier, Marc, 2014. "The impact of political majorities on firm value: Do electoral promises or friendship connections matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 158-170.
    2. repec:wsi:jikmxx:v:08:y:2009:i:04:n:s0219649209002403 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Victor Tiberius & Christoph Rasche, 2011. "Prognosemärkte," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 467-472, April.
    4. John J. Nay & Martin Van der Linden & Jonathan M. Gilligan, 2016. "Betting and Belief: Prediction Markets and Attribution of Climate Change," Papers 1603.08961, arXiv.org, revised Jul 2016.
    5. Legge, Stefan & Schmid, Lukas, 2016. "Media attention and betting markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 304-333.
    6. C.J.M. Kool & S. Rosenkranz & M. Middeldorp, 2007. "Listening Without Understanding : Central Bank Transparency, Financial Markets and the Crowding Out of Private Information," Working Papers 07-19, Utrecht School of Economics.
    7. Coulomb, Renaud & Sangnier, Marc, 2014. "The impact of political majorities on firm value: Do electoral promises or friendship connections matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 158-170.
    8. Davis, Brent, 2015. "Forecasting Elections: Do Prediction Markets Tells Us Anything More than the Polls?," MPRA Paper 65505, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    event futures; forecasting; futures; information aggregation; information markets; prediction markets;

    JEL classification:

    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading

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