Incentive-Compatible Forecasting Competitions

01/05/2021 ∙ by Jens Witkowski, et al. ∙ 0

We initiate the study of incentive-compatible forecasting competitions in which multiple forecasters make predictions about one or more events and compete for a single prize. We have two objectives: (1) to incentivize forecasters to report truthfully, so that forecasts are informative and forecasters need not spend any cognitive effort strategizing about reports, and (2) to award the prize to the most accurate forecaster. Proper scoring rules incentivize truthful reporting if all forecasters are paid according to their scores. However, incentives become distorted if only the best-scoring forecaster wins a prize, since forecasters can often increase their probability of having the highest score by reporting more extreme beliefs. In this paper, we introduce two novel forecasting competition mechanisms. Our first mechanism is dominant strategy incentive compatible and guaranteed to select the most accurate forecaster with probability higher than any other forecaster. Moreover, we show that in the standard single-event, two-forecaster setting and under mild technical conditions, no other incentive-compatible mechanism selects the most accurate forecaster with higher probability. Our second mechanism is incentive compatible when forecasters' beliefs are such that information about one event does not lead to a belief update on the other events, and it selects the best forecaster with probability approaching 1 as the number of events grows. Our mechanisms are easy to implement and can be generalized to the related problems of outputting a ranking over forecasters and hiring a forecaster with high accuracy on future events.

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