Prediction Markets and Contract Design

Author: Bergfjord, Ole Jakob

Source: The Journal of Prediction Markets, Volume 5, Number 2, September 2011 , pp. 1-13(13)

Traditionally, the main function of prediction markets (PMs) has been to provide information about probabilities for various events. Good information requires a well-functioning market, which in turn depends on sufficient liquidity and a sufficient number of market participants. While many of the early PMs have been of a more experimental nature, with students or other test groups as market participants, a natural assumption is that future PMs must be able to attract market participants to be successful.

We assume that four main groups of stakeholders face potential gains from a well-functioning PM contract: The exchange launching the contract; hedgers; gamblers; and users of the market information, whether this is a corporation or society as a whole.

In this paper, we analyze different design characteristics of PM contracts, mainly in light of previous studies of futures markets. A relatively extensive literature exists on the design of futures contracts, and a number of criteria have been established to predict whether a contract is likely to be successful. We use this to provide some recommendations for contract design, in order to develop contracts that maximize the gain for the four groups of stakeholders.




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