“It ain’t over till it’s over,” Yogi Berra famously used to say. If you’re an English rugby fan, there can be no truer words to reflect your recent experience. I normally don’t follow rugby very closely, for various family reasons, but have a habit of walking in to watch the last 5 minutes of major rugby and football tournaments. This means perhaps that last-minute reversals have much more salience for me than if I’d watched every game. It also means that my consumption of football and rugby is highly efficient. The only live moment I saw of the 2003 Rugby World Cup Finals was Jonny Wilkinson‘s famous last-second drop-goal. It happened again last Saturday, when all my plans to watch the entire match were nuked by the reappearance of Robin Hood in the TV schedules.

From the abstract below, it looks like late reversals in sport and whether markets overpay for such outcomes will be the essence of Lionel Page’s talk at University College, London tomorrow on prediction markets:-

‘IT AIN’T OVER TILL IT’S OVER: Yogi Berra bias on sports prediction markets’
Lionel Page
University of Westminster
The ability of prediction market prices to reflect the probability of the underlying events is still an open question. Using a large database of observed prices this paper studies the calibration of prediction market prices. In particular it uses the variation of prices across time to check changes in calibration over the lifetime of contracts. While only minor bias can be observed during most of the life of the contracts, the calibration of prices deteriorates very significantly in the last moments of the contracts’ life. Traders tend to overestimate the probability of the losing team to reverse the situation in the last minutes of the game. This result seems to contradict the information model proposed by Sobel and Raines (2003) to explain the longshot favorite bias.”

Dr Matt Twyman at UCL assures me these meetings are open to the public, and I can’t think of a better excuse than England’s late surge in the Rugby World Cup to get the boss to let you leave early tomorrow for your own academic edification and head down to Room 305 at the UCL Psychology Department on Bedford Way for the 5pm seminar. Map is here

Family pressures prevent me from being there, although I might pop in for the last 5 minutes to see how it ends ;-) .

To get on Dr Twyman’s mailing list for future events in the series go here.

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