“Lots of ordinary people putting their heads together do better than small groups of experts,” writes the BBC’s Stephen Evans:
If you had wanted to know who was the most likely Cardinal to be promoted to Pope you shouldn’t have relied on the pundits.
Nor should you have taken any notice of the Vatican watchers who studied the arcane politics of the Catholic Church.
Your best bet would have been, well, a bet – or, rather, an investment in an online futures market.
They got it spot on.
The Intrade futures market had Cardinal Ratzinger as well ahead of the field.
On top of that, it – or rather the tens of thousands of traders collectively – reckoned there was a 60% chance of there being a European Pope.
The way it worked on the Irish-based website was that a contract for Cardinal Ratzinger to be chosen would pay out $10 once he was elected.
Such a contract could be bought or sold and so the price would rise or fall between zero and ten dollars according to how the market viewed the likelihood. And it viewed him as more likely than any other Cardinal.
Hat tip to Mark Brady at Liberty and Power.