July 12, 2004 | TimeA prediction market is based on the notion that a marketplace is a better organizer of insight and predictor of the future than individuals are. Once confined to research universities, the idea of markets working within companies has started to seep out into some of the nation's largest corporations. Companies from Microsoft to Eli Lilly and Hewlett-Packard are bringing the market inside, with workers trading futures contracts on such "commodities" as sales, product success and supplier behavior. Another predictive market, the IOWA ELECTRONIC MARKETS at the University of Iowa, has been around since 1988. That bourse has accepted up to $500 from anyone wanting to wager on election results. Players buy and sell outcomes: Is Kerry a win or Bush a shoo-in? This is the same information that news organizations and pollsters chase in the run-up to election night. Yet Iowa outperforms them 75 percent of the time.
Contact: Forrest Nelson