Up: 3:1-2

The extent of price misalignment in prediction markets

David Rothschild; David M. Pennock

Algorithmic Finance (2014), 3:1-2, 3-20
DOI: 10.3233/AF-140031

Published: Abstract, PDF.
Archived: SSRN.


We study misaligned prices for logically related contracts in prediction markets. First, we uncover persistent arbitrage opportunities for risk-neutral investors between identical contracts on different exchanges. Examining the impact of several thousand dollars of transactions on the exchanges themselves in a randomized field trial, we document that price support extends well beyond what is seen in the published order book and that arbitrage opportunities are significantly larger than purely observational measurements indicate. Second, we demonstrate misalignment among identical and logically related contracts listed on the same exchange that cluster around moments of high information flow, when related contracts systemically shut down or fail to respond efficiently. Third, we document bounded rationality in prediction markets; examples include: consistent asymmetry between buying and selling, leaving the average return for selling higher than for buying; and persistent price lags between exchanges. Despite these signs of departure from theoretical optimality, the markets studied function well on balance, considering the sometimes complex and subtle relationships among contracts. Yet, we detail how to improve prediction markets by moving the burden of finding and fixing logical contradictions into the exchange and providing flexible trading interfaces, both of which free traders to focus on providing meaningful information in the form they find most natural.

Managing Editor

Philip Maymin

University of Bridgeport

Deputy Managing Editor

Jayaram Muthuswamy

Kent State University

Advisory Board

Kenneth J. Arrow

Stanford University

Herman Chernoff

Harvard University

David S. Johnson

AT&T Labs Research

Leonid Levin

Boston University

Myron Scholes

Stanford University

Michael Sipser

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Richard Thaler

University of Chicago

Stephen Wolfram

Wolfram Research

Editorial Board

Associate Editors

Peter Bossaerts

California Institute of Technology

Emanuel Derman

Columbia University

Ming-Yang Kao

Northwestern University

Pete Kyle

University of Maryland

David Leinweber

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Richard J. Lipton

Georgia Tech

Avi Silberschatz

Yale University

Robert Webb

University of Virginia

Affiliate Editors

Giovanni Barone-Adesi

University of Lugano

Bruce Lehmann

University of California, San Diego

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