Scott Alexander 2021 Predictions: Market Prices

Scott Alexander has posted some predictions for 2021. Taking Zvi’s approach from here and rather than making my own adjustments, making my best estimate of what various prediction (and financial) markets are saying the odds are.

If anyone has seen a market for any of the questions listed here which I haven’t found one, let me know and I’ll add it.


1. Biden approval rating (as per 538) is greater than 50%: 80%

Metaculus gives this 61%. (Much lower than both Zvi and Scott)

2. Court packing is clearly going to happen (new justices don’t have to be appointed by end of year): 5%

PredictIt gives a lower bound on this at 5%.
Metaculus gives a 27% chance to court packing by 2030. Assuming the chances of this happening is mostly weighted sooner rather than later (4/​3/​2/​1 over Biden’s term + 30% ’24 - ’30). would give this a 4% chance in this year

3. Yang is New York mayor: 80%

Metaculus is at 60%
Smarkets is at 73%
Betfair is at 77%
PredictIt is at 69%

4. Newsom recalled as CA governor: 5% has this at ~7%

5. At least $250 million in damage from BLM protests this year: 30%
6. Significant capital gains tax hike (above 30% for highest bracket): 20%
7. Trump is allowed back on Twitter: 20%

Not aware of any markets

8. Tokyo Olympics happen on schedule: 70%

Metaculus has this at 80%
FTX has this at 75%
Smarkets has this at 75%

Note that Metaculus is talking about an Olympics at any point in 2021, whereas the others are about the Olympics being on schedule.

9. Major flare-up (significantly worse than anything in past 5 years) in Russia/​Ukraine war: 20%

Metaculus has a related question at 32%. If we assume that question is about reaching a level approximately the same as was achieved in the past, this is presumably putting the chances of something worse at ~16%

10. Major flare-up (significantly worse than anything in past 10 years) in Israel/​Palestine conflict: 5%
11. Major flare-up (significantly worse than anything in past 50 years) in China/​Taiwan conflict: 5%

Not aware of any markets (specific to 2021).

12. Netanyahu is still Israeli PM: 40%

PredictIt has this at 22%

13. Prospera has at least 1000 residents: 30%

Not aware of one. I think Metaculus are making one though

14. GME >$100 (Currently $170): 50%

Possibly the most concrete one. The options market is giving this 60% chance right now. (Actually, it’s giving that until 21-Jan-22, so the chances are even higher than that)

15. Bitcoin above 100K: 40%

Metaculus gives this 43% (at any point)
Deribit options give this 25%(at the end of the year)

16. Ethereum above 5K: 50%

Deribit options give this 11% (at the end of the year)

17. Ethereum above 0.05 BTC: 70%

Not a market price, but bootstrapping this from option prices + historical volatility puts this closer to 33%

18. Dow above 35K: 90%

Option market gives this 50%

19. …above 37.5K: 70%

Option market gives this 20%

20. Unemployment above 5%: 40%

Metaculus gives this 37%

21. Google widely allows remote work, no questions asked: 20%

Not seen a market for this

22. Starship reaches orbit: 60%

Metaculus gives this 50%


23. Fewer than 10K daily average official COVID cases in US in December 2021: 30%
24. Fewer than 50K daily average COVID cases worldwide in December 2021: 1%

Not seen a market

25. Greater than 66% of US population vaccinated against COVID: 50%

Metaculus gives this 77% (their line is 69% vaccinated, so their probability for 60% is even higher)

26. India’s official case count is higher than US: 50%

Not seen a market

27. Vitamin D is generally recognized (eg NICE, UpToDate) as effective COVID treatment: 30%

None of Metaculus’ 4 questions about Vit-D are ⇐ 25%:

28. Something else not currently used becomes first-line treatment for COVID: 40%
29. Some new variant not currently known is greater than 25% of cases: 50%
30. Some new variant where no existing vaccine is more than 50% effective: 40%

Not seen a market

31. US approves AstraZeneca vaccine: 20%

Metaculus gives this 37%

32. Most people I see in the local grocery store aren’t wearing a mask: 60%

Not seen a market