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Markets Predict Hurricane Paths, Damage

Let the betting begin. When tropical storms like Dean start churning in the Atlantic, a small cadre of hurricane speculators springs into action. They're out to make money by predicting the path, the strength or the damage from the season's big storms. However, researchers at the University of Miami and UNIVERSITY OF IOWA hope some of the speculators will do something else: help us understand how people decide where a hurricane is headed. The goal isn't to replace the National Hurricane Center but to gather information that might be useful in improving hurricane warning systems. The two universities teamed up to launch the Hurricane Futures Market in 2005 and are now in their third hurricane season. While their market is still just an experimental tool, other markets have been shown to be useful in forecasting everything from oil supplies to presidential elections. Some companies even use prediction markets in decision making.

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