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Prediction Markets

  • Justin Wolfers


    (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University)

  • Eric Zitzewitz


    (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University)

We analyze the extent to which simple markets can be used to aggregate disperse information into efficient forecasts of uncertain future events. Drawing together data from a range of prediction contexts, we show that market-generated forecasts are typically fairly accurate, and that they outperform most moderately sophisticated benchmarks. Carefully designed contracts can yield insight into the market’s expectations about probabilities, means and medians, and also uncertainty about these parameters. Moreover, conditional markets can effectively reveal the market’s beliefs about regression coefficients, although we still have the usual problem of disentangling correlation from causation. We discuss a number of market design issues and highlight domains in which prediction markets are most likely to be useful.

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Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 03-025.

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Date of creation: Apr 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:03-025
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  1. Thaler, Richard H & Ziemba, William T, 1988. "Parimutuel Betting Markets: Racetracks and Lotteries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 161-74, Spring.
  2. Plott, Charles R. & Sunder, Shyam., . "Efficiency of Experimental Security Markets with Insider Information: An Application of Rational Expectations Models," Working Papers 331, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  3. Stefano Athanasoulis & Robert Shiller & Eric van Wincoop, 1999. "Macro markets and financial security," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Apr, pages 21-39.
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  5. Plott, Charles R. & Sunder, Shyam., . "Rational Expectations and the Aggregation of Diverse Information in Laboratory Security Markets," Working Papers 463, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  6. Leigh, Andrew & Wolfers, Justin & Zitzewitz, Eric, 2003. "What do Financial Markets Think of War in Iraq?," Research Papers 1785, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  7. Justin Wolfers & Eric Zitzewitz, 2004. "Prediction Markets," NBER Working Papers 10504, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1995. "The Limits of Arbitrage," NBER Working Papers 5167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  10. Martin Spann & Bernd Skiera, 2003. "Internet-Based Virtual Stock Markets for Business Forecasting," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(10), pages 1310-1326, October.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Ait-Sahalia, Yacine & Wang, Yubo & Yared, Francis, 2001. "Do option markets correctly price the probabilities of movement of the underlying asset?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 67-110, May.
  14. Joel Slemrod & Timothy Greimel, 1998. "Did Steve Forbes Scare the Municipal Bond Market?," NBER Working Papers 6583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Forsythe, Robert & Rietz, Thomas A. & Ross, Thomas W., 1999. "Wishes, expectations and actions: a survey on price formation in election stock markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 83-110, May.
  16. Bates, David S, 1991. " The Crash of '87: Was It Expected? The Evidence from Options Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(3), pages 1009-44, July.
  17. Smith, Vernon L, 1985. "Experimental Economics: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 264-72, March.
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