FantasyPope Update: Fail

March 13th, 2013

Bergoglio wasn’t even one of our Papables on FantasyPope:


Our final votes were Turkson (630), Ouellet (569), and Scola (514). It is interesting how the votes remained fairly constant, even after the surge of traffic in the last few days with the start of the conclave.

Here are the final odds from PattyPower. Bergoglio was a 33/1 Underdog.


Nate Silver had some interesting thoughts on predicting the Pope through the wisdom of the crowds:

To be sure, experts aren’t always less wise than crowds. A few Supreme Court experts did a better job forecasting last summer’s health care decision than prediction markets did, and their success did not appear to be merely a matter of chance. Those experts managed to read some of the signs around the court in the weeks leading up the decision. The odds on the prediction market, by contrast, did not react to the signs at all.

Similarly, during the 2012 election, poll analysts arguably did a better job thanprediction markets or oddsmakers.

A conclave is precisely the sort of event that can play to experts’ strengths. As with the health care decision, experts have the potential to collect useful information that isn’t available to the public. Of course, having the potential to do something and actually doing it are two different things.

I am currently working on an article with Todd Zywicki and Laura Lieberman about the public choice and game theory aspects of the Papal conclave voting process. It’s absolutely fascinating.