Use of Prediction Markets to Forecast Infectious Disease Activity

Philip M. Polgreen, Forrest D. Nelson, and George R. Neumann
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Volume 44, Issue 2, pages 272-279, 2007

  • Abstract
    Prediction markets have accurately forecasted the outcomes of a wide range of future events, including sales of computer printers, elections, and the Federal Reserve�s decisions about interest rates. We propose that prediction markets may be useful for tracking and forecasting emerging infectious diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome and avian influenza, by aggregating expert opinion quickly, accurately, and inexpensively. Data from a pilot study in the state of Iowa suggest that these markets can accurately predict statewide seasonal influenza activity 2�4 weeks in advance by using clinical data volunteered from participating health care workers. Information revealed by prediction markets may help to informtreatment, prevention, and policy decisions. Also, these markets could help to refine existing surveillance systems.
  • Published Paper