The Supreme Court and the Wisdom of Crowds


In our October 2010 issue I interviewed Josh Blackman, the founder of FantasySCOTUS.net, a thriving online fantasy league that asks players to predict the outcome of Supreme Court cases. In addition to running the site, Blackman has also been keeping careful track of his fantasy league's results. In a new co-authored paper that's just been been posted to the Social Science Research Network, he reports on what FantasySCOTUS can tell us about crowdsourcing and the Supreme Court. Here's an excerpt from the abstract:

During the October 2009 Supreme Court term, the 5,000 members made over 11,000 predictions for all 81 cases decided. Based on this data, FantasySCOTUS accurately predicted a majority of the cases, and the top-ranked experts predicted over 75% of the cases correctly. With this combined knowledge, we can now have a method to determine with a degree of certainty how the Justices will decide cases before they do. This essay explores the wisdom of the crowds in this prediction market and assesses the accuracy of FantasySCOTUS' predictions about the same cases.

Download the article here.