An Axiomatic Study of Scoring Rule Markets

Authors Rafael Frongillo, Bo Waggoner

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Rafael Frongillo
Bo Waggoner

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Rafael Frongillo and Bo Waggoner. An Axiomatic Study of Scoring Rule Markets. In 9th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2018). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 94, pp. 15:1-15:20, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2018)


Prediction markets are well-studied in the case where predictions are probabilities or expectations of future random variables. In 2008, Lambert, et al. proposed a generalization, which we call "scoring rule markets" (SRMs), in which traders predict the value of arbitrary statistics of the random variables, provided these statistics can be elicited by a scoring rule. Surprisingly, despite active recent work on prediction markets, there has not yet been any investigation into more general SRMs. To initiate such a study, we ask the following question: in what sense are SRMs "markets"? We classify SRMs according to several axioms that capture potentially desirable qualities of a market, such as the ability to freely exchange goods (contracts) for money. Not all SRMs satisfy our axioms: once a contract is purchased in any market for prediction the median of some variable, there will not necessarily be any way to sell that contract back, even in a very weak sense. Our main result is a characterization showing that slight generalizations of cost-function-based markets are the only markets to satisfy all of our axioms for finite-outcome random variables. Nonetheless, we find that several SRMs satisfy weaker versions of our axioms, including a novel share-based market mechanism for ratios of expected values.
  • prediction markets
  • information elicitation
  • scoring rules


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