June 14, 2007 | Chicago Sun-TimesThe Iowa Electronic Markets are political futures markets created by professors from the economic and political science departments at the University of Iowa. Think of presidential candidates as pork belly futures or oil futures, and you get the idea. Anyone can play the Iowa Electronic Markets, located at: http:/tippie.uiowa.edu/iem/. You're allowed to spend $5 minimum and $500 maximum on shares -- and if your candidate wins, you earn $1 for each share. You also can invest in several candidates. Let's say you bought Obama shares at 32 cents each and he became the Democratic presidential nominee. You'd make $1 for each share you bought, earning a 68-cent per share profit. Most of the players are University of Iowa faculty and students, but 20 percent are outside investors. "Some of the people who are in the investment business say they find it relaxing to come home and do this," says JOYCE BERG, who teaches accounting at the school's Henry B. Tippie College of Business, which runs the IEM. In the 2004 presidential election, IEM investors spent a total of $400,000 on candidates. "We've had people double or triple their investments," Berg said.
Contact: Joyce Berg