Prediction Markets: Reality and Theory

Research output: Working paperWorking paper and Preprints

Abstract

Data on individual trades in prediction markets relating to the 2008 and 2012 US Presidential elections reveal that traders vary enormously in their behavior. This contrasts with the standard prediction-market models, which assume relatively homogeneous participants who differ only in their beliefs and wealth. We show that risk-lovers have particularly strong distortionary effects on market outcomes even when beliefs are symmetrically distributed around the truth. Simulations of a model which allows traders to have different motives and tastes for risk indicate that including such traders produce the market outcomes we observe, such as herding, persistent contrariness, a skewed profits’ distribution and favorite-long-shot bias. The attraction of such markets to risk-lovers means that caution must be exercised when using prediction-market prices for forecasting.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 18 Oct 2016

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