Gene Expression

Hey Canada

Since Canadians seem to have an obsession with American health care policy (a nation of Ezra Kleins?), I thought I would pass along this weird Intrade screenshot:


OK, I assume my liberal readers have cleaned themselves up after seeing that screenshot. I check Intrade as part of my “morning reads” and I really don ‘t know what’s going on here, the health care prices have been between 20 and 50 for all of 2010, and usually between 30 and 40. Perhaps a speculative bubble driven by the magic of Obama’s voice? Or Democratic staffers with “inside knowledge” starting buy up shares because they knew they were under-valued?

Update: Price is back down to 67. So it was some weird price volatility. The people complaining that the trading volume is too low for the prices to not easily get distorted by a few players are probably right.


  1. #1 Chris
    March 3, 2010

    This happened during the 2008 election. Someone kept buying a lot of McCain shares at regular intervals spiking the price. The price would then drift down as others grabbed the now heavily under-priced Obama stocks. This went on for months.

    Other than making some people a fair amount of money and maybe getting mentioned on a blog or two it really had no material affect on the election.

  2. #2 dave chamberlin
    March 3, 2010

    You are right Chris but as a casual and infrequent sports gambler I have learned to enormously respect the intellegence not of gamblers but of bookmakers and the lines that tens of thousands of people combined make. I predict that as the main stream media descends into triviality the odds on elections made by gamblers will gain more and more validity.

  3. #3 Eric
    March 3, 2010

    “President Obama urged Congress Wednesday to vote “up or down” on sweeping health care legislation in the next few weeks, endorsing a plan that denies Senate Republicans the right to kill the bill by stalling with a filibuster.”

    Basically, he has publicly supported passing health care reform through budget reconciliation. This makes the bill much more likely to pass.

  4. #4 Douglas Knight
    March 4, 2010

    Generally, the bid/ask interval is the relevant statistic, not the last price. It is visible in your screenshot, 44-80. It is bizarre that the last price is not between them. Such a wide range suggests an illiquid market and little information, but it was just the temporary effect of the one purchase.

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