A recent article in the journal, Studies in Intelligence, takes up the issue of using prediction markets as intelligence tools, a topic that I have wondered about myself recently.

Towards the end of the article, the author takes up the issue of whether or not an internal, Intelligence Community prediction market should be a real-money or a play-money market, noting many of the problems that would have to be dealt with to implement at real-money market.  Of course, analysts must have incentive to participate, which is one argument in favor of a real-money market.

But, why would analysts participate if there is no real money involved?  The author suggests “community bragging rights.”  He cites studies which indicate that people are just as willing to participate in play-money markets as in real money markets, and that some play-money markets have a record of being as accurate as real-money markets.

While it might be true that “bragging rights” would be enough to get analysts to participate, could there be a way that an analyst’s performance in the prediction market was reflected in his/her qualitative reports?  Recent reports indicate that DIA at least is “embracing Web 2.0” by making use of social networking technologies like wikis and blogs, another topic that has been addressed in the pages of Studies in Intelligence recently.  What if, in addition to a number of other factors, an analyst’s performance in the prediction market helped to determine the weight of that analyst’s comments on other analyst’s blog posts, the information that the analyst contributes to the community wiki, etc.?

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