Justin Wolfers discusses Intrade with NPR's All Things Considered

November 29, 2012

Justin Wolfers spoke with National Public Radio's All Things Considered about Intrade, a website that invites users to place bets on the likelihood of various events, from current affairs to pop culture. Intrade recently announced it could no longer serve U.S. customers after it was sued by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission for functioning as an unregistered exchange.

In part, the controversy revolves around whether Intrade's activity should be considered betting or trading. In some respects, Wolfers said, it can be difficult to distinguish the two.

"Conceptually, to an economist, there's not a difference between betting and trading — apart from the fact that one sounds more polite than the other," Wolfers told NPR.

Wolfers said Intrade has also garnered attention for its accuracy in predicting outcomes.
"It tends to be more accurate than pundits, it tends to be more accurate than polls, and in the past it's even more accurate than very sophisticated poll-watchers like The New York Times' Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com," Wolfers said.

[Listen to the audio]