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New $5,000 Prize in the Salem Center/CSPI Forecasting Tournament
Trying to incentivize more participation
As the Salem Center/CSPI forecasting tournament has continued, there has been a bit of a drop-off in participation as it’s become clear to many people that they do not have a good chance of winning.
Below, one can see our number of weekly users since the beginning of the tournament in August. Recently, we’ve gone from around 60-80 throughout much of the winter to about 40 now.
Given the drop-off, we thought it would be useful to find a way to incentive people to continue participating through the end of the tournament.
We’ve therefore decided that, in addition to the other prizes we plan to award, at the end of the tournament we will give $5,000 to the person who saw the greatest increase in their portfolio value between February 15, 2023, 9:00AM ET and the end of the tournament. One will need to have bet at least S$1,000 during that time period to qualify and ended up with at least S$2,000 by the end of the tournament.
By making it a percentage increase, we hope to incentivize more participation from new users, and old betters who’ve been unlucky so far. It will obviously be easier to increase a smaller amount of money by a given percentage than a larger amount.
Here are the top 20 traders as of now.
The rest of this post discusses some of the markets that remain, with probabilities current as of the afternoon of February 15. More will be added as time goes on. Remember, to get updates on new markets and when markets settle, follow CSPI on Twitter and make sure to get alerts for new Tweets in order not to miss anything.
The Ukraine War
Russian forces continue to pound away at Bakhmut. The market gives a 30% chance that they will take the city by the end of February.
There has been talk of a Ukrainian offensive to take back more territory. Any substantive attack should focus on the city of Melitopol. The community believes that the Russians have a 77% chance of holding the city through the end of March.
Analysts have speculated that Russia’s war goals are now to take the entirety of the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk. Ukrainian officials claim that Putin has ordered his military to do so by the end of March. That will mean controlling Kramatorsk, one of the last remaining major cities in the region not under Russian control. The market says that their forces have a 34% chance of taking it by the end of May. This seems significantly more bullish than much of the expert community, which looks at the slow Russian advances around Bakhmut and suggests that major breakthroughs in its favor are highly unlikely in the near term.
Two new markets just went up that in effect ask whether Russia or Ukraine will have a successful offensive by the end of July.
In other markets ending in July, the forecasting tournament gives a 44% chance of Ukraine getting ATACMS, a 14% chance of a nuclear weapon being used, and a 30% chance of a ceasefire. The odds of a stop to the fighting have decreased over time, being down from around 50%-55% throughout much of the fall.
There is a 60% chance that Donald Trump will be the favorite to be the Republican nominee in July. This is up from winter, when the number hovered around 30%. The market is expecting Ron DeSantis to get into the race, giving him a 62% chance of doing so by June 1.
On the Democratic side, there is a 79% chance Biden will be the favorite to be his party’s nominee by summer. As recently as November 2, the probability was around 40%, with the president receiving a major boost after the midterms.
The debt limit standoff is one of the main issues in Washington, with both sides seemingly unwilling to compromise. The market seems optimistic about finding a solution, with 77% thinking that the debt ceiling will be raised by the end of July. There is also a non-substantial chance of chaos, with a 33% probability that the House will take a no-confidence vote on Kevin McCarthy.
World Politics and Economics
Here are the numbers for some other geopolitical events covered in the tournament:
And on economic forecasting:
We also have a new market on whether the US will achieve at least 1% growth in the second quarter of this year.
As a reminder, in addition to the $5,000 going to the top performer from this point on, the winner of the tournament will get a $25,000 fellowship at the University of Texas, among other prizes for top forecasters. See here for details, including on the need to take our survey to qualify, and good luck.