Financial markets have been rumoured to have predicative powers over real life events

Political Game Theory

Have a hunch that the NDP are poised to sweet seats across the 416? Heard rumours that Toronto-resident Jim Harris's Green Party are set to finally pick up a seat? Been told on good authority that the Tories are headed towards a majority?

Want to make some money?

The UBC Election Stock Market, which has been operating for over a decade, is the place to do it.

Investors (that's anybody with a Canadian bank account and at least $25.00 to their name) in this elections market can buy and sell 'shares' which correspond to potential election results in a futures style system. Each share (in one of three seperate markets - seat total, popular vote, or majority government), which can be bought and sold in a price set by the open market is liquified after the election, with proceeds returning to the investors holding them according to pre-determined rules. If (in popular vote, for example) the NDP finish with 25% of the popular vote, then each share is worth $0.25. If you bought these the week before, when people thought the NDP would only win 20% of the vote (and thus they were trading at $0.20) you've just made 5 cents per share you held. The UBC runs the elections market as a non-profit, and each dollar that goes in comes back to investors a the end.

The amazing thing about the Election Stock Market is that it is believed to have predicative powers. Over the life of the project (including several federal and provincial elections) the market has generally been more accurate than opinion polls in predicting results (taken from the last opinion polls and the close of the market the day before the election). It is said that this demonstrates a collective conciousness, where lots of small, individual desicions are amalgamated into a larger meme.

If you think you can read the political landscape better than the average bear and want to contribute to a body of game theory related science, put your money where your mouth is, and give it a go.


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