A prediction market for COVID 19 cases: call for participants

Mark Roulston, Senior Data Scientist •

Blog 12


Hivemind has been invited to be part of the fifth cohort of Lloyd’s Lab (the home of InsurTech at the world’s most famous insurance and reinsurance market). Throughout this 10-week programme, we will be investigating the use of prediction markets—using AGORA, our prediction market tool—as a method for combining expert judgments into consensus forecasts relevant to the insurance industry.

One of the experimental prediction markets we are running will be to predict the number of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in each of the remaining months of 2020.

COVID-19 is the worst pandemic humanity has faced since the influenza pandemic of 1918. Globally 20 million people have been infected and almost three quarters of a million people have died. The United States has been hit particularly hard, accounting for a quarter of all cases and losing over 160,000 of its residents to the disease. From the earliest days in the crisis, scientists from many disciplines have worked to track the virus and predict how many people will be infected. These forecasts have informed the response to the pandemic by governments and other organisations. Predictions of the spread of the virus draw on a wide range of expertise from the biological, social and data sciences. This diversity of insight makes the problem a good candidate for a prediction market which uses a market-like mechanism (although not a literal market) to elicit and aggregate information from many sources into a unified probabilistic forecast.

Our prediction market will be denominated in virtual on-platform credits. Participants will be given initial endowments of credits with which they will be able to express their judgment on the likely number of cases. After John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center publishes the number of new cases for a month the market for that month will be settled. The number of credits each participant accumulates will reflect how much they contributed to improving the forecast and how early they were able to make this contribution. The best performing participants will be eligible for awards totalling £10,000, courtesy of Lloyd’s Lab.

The COVID-19 US case market is invitation-only and we are seeking 20 UK residents with a diverse range of expertise in areas such as statistics, epidemiology, infectious disease modelling, other areas of medicine and general data science to participate.


Not a UK resident?
If you are interested in this type of market but are not resident in the UK, you can still provide your details for participation in future prediction markets that don't carry this restriction.