Preventing Terrorism Through Markets

"Betting" on an attack could be distasteful. Or it could save lives.

What if?

Photographer: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

Maybe it’s time to bring back the Pentagon’s terror prediction market. Remember that much-maligned experiment? Toward the end of Bill Clinton's administration and into the early days of George W. Bush's, DARPA began studying the feasibility of establishing an electronic market where participants would risk money on geopolitical trends, mostly in and around the Middle East. Given the success of prediction markets in other realms, intelligence analysts at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency were interested in whether such a market might prove a useful tool in their work. The program was called the Policy Analysis Market, and it was a very good idea.

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