Election of a Pope Tests Betting Markets

Intrade may have shut down, but the election of a pope still offers a good chance to study the predictive value of betting odds. …

There are no polls of the 115 cardinals who will be making the decision – at least no public polls – and no are other variables, like economic growth, with a clear record of predicting the winner. So everyone following the conclave, from mildly interested observers to bettors to observant Catholics, is left to piece together fragments of information, much of it of dubious quality. …

But if the papal odds are less reliable than the odds on, say, sporting events – which have a very good overall record – they still may be the most useful publicly available predictions. [cont.]

David Leonhardt, FiveThirtyEight (NYT)