October 01, 2016

Wish you could invest in which candidate will come out on top in November’s presidential election?

PredictIt is an online, real-money political prediction market where traders create an account, fund it like a brokerage account and then buy and sell shares on the likelihood of political events happening.

Christopher Chidzik ’12, of Washington, D.C., who majored in economics and political science at Susquehanna, is a data analyst for the emerging company.

“I follow general price trends within markets, write the analysis articles that appear on the website and make data available for media inquiries as well as for academic research,” Chidzik said.

“The questions that we pose are not only related to U.S. elections, but also world events, polling outcomes, Congressional actions and Supreme Court cases, to name a few,” he said.

How Does It Work?

Each trade has a “yes” and a “no” position. If an event happens and the trader owns shares on the “yes” side of the market, their share is redeemed at one dollar. If the event doesn’t happen, the trader who owns the “no” position has his or her shares redeemed.

For example: traders are currently confident that Hillary Clinton will become the next president, with shares trading at 73 cents. If a trader thinks that Clinton will win the election in November, he or she can purchase a “yes” share starting at 73 cents. Another trader who does not believe she will become president would have to place an offer at 27 cents on the “no” side of the market.

Data gathered from trader behavior has been used to track the perceived leanings of the electorate. Knowing this, Chidzik is already looking ahead, past the presidential election, to what he and others may be able to learn from PredictIt’s data, which has been shared with universities to facilitate academic research.

“I would like to continue to develop our academic partnerships to facilitate more research and expand the in-house research that is performed,” he said, “to bring more analysis and insights to traders and media outlets.”

Chidzik’s double major uniquely prepared him for his work with the company, as did his internship with the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Through my coursework, I strengthened my understanding of the political process which really helps when analyzing the underlying reasons behind market swings,” he said. “My economics coursework developed my ability to perform the quantitative analysis I conduct every day.”