Incentive-Compatible Forecasting Competitions
Keywords:forecasting, incentives, expert identification, proper scoring rules
We consider the design of forecasting competitions in which multiple forecasters make predictions about one or more independent events and compete for a single prize. We have two objectives: (1) to award the prize to the most accurate forecaster, and (2) to incentivize forecasters to report truthfully, so that forecasts are informative and forecasters need not spend any cognitive effort strategizing about reports. 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 extreme beliefs. Even if forecasters do report truthfully, awarding the prize to the forecaster with highest score does not guarantee that high-accuracy forecasters are likely to win; in extreme cases, it can result in a perfect forecaster having zero probability of winning. In this paper, we introduce a truthful forecaster selection mechanism. We lower-bound the probability that our mechanism selects the most accurate forecaster, and give rates for how quickly this bound approaches 1 as the number of events grows. Our techniques can be generalized to the related problems of outputting a ranking over forecasters and hiring a forecaster with high accuracy on future events.