Bryan Caplan  

I Win All My Election Bets

Consciousness, Computers, and ... The morning after...
As of yesterday, I had three outstanding election bets.

1. Nathaniel Bechhofer bet me 2:1 that Clinton would win the presidential election.  I bet against.

2. A bunch of people bet me Gary Johnson would win 5% of the popular vote.  I bet against.

3. Nathaniel Bechhofer bet me at even odds that Trump would concede by Saturday.  I bet against.

I always bet my beliefs, not my wishes.  So sadly, I have won all three bets, leaving my perfect public betting record intact.  What about Brexit?  Britain is still in the EU for now.  I'll pay when it officially leaves and not a minute before.  And if it's still in on January 1, 2020, I want my money.

P.S. I'm especially disappointed to lose to Bechhofer because there would be no shame in losing to a man of his tremendous intellect.  Feel better, my friend.

COMMENTS (8 to date)
Sam writes:

Out of curiosity, how much money did you make?

I made about $300 on PredictIt.

Liam writes:

Professor Caplan,

I am catching flak from a lot of people I know for voting for Gary Johnson because they believe that Trump would not have won had third parties stepped aside and voted for Clinton.

From your knowledge of voter behavior is that a fair assessment to make?

Jay writes:


Those people assume all 3rd party votes go to one side?

Jacob Egner writes:

Bryan Caplan:

Congrats on your betting successes. I've always enjoyed and thought well of your stance on beliefs and betting.

Considering your perfect track record, are you tempted to be a bit less conservative with your bets? A person that wins all his bets probably has forgone a lot of bets he could have won.

>I'm especially disappointed to lose to Bechhofer

Do you mean you're disappointed Bechhofer lost to you?

Sjenks writes:

It is fair in the same way that it is fair to say if all HRC voters had voted for Gary Johnson he would of won and beat Trump. So ask your friends why they gave the election to Trump by voting for HRC? It is just as realistic a scenario.

If Gary Johnson dropped out, his voters would of either 1) voted Trump, 2) voted Hillary, or 3) not voted at all. It is impossible to know the proportion but I suspect 1) and especially 3) would dominate. No Gary Johnson on the ballot and I would of stayed home, you too? HRC vote counts for key Dem demographics was lower than BHO, if Democrats aren't going to show up to vote for her why in the world would we expect libertarians to?

Reason did a run down of states were 3rd party votes could of tipped the election and 6 were won by Trump and 7 by Clinton

Joe Leider writes:

I feel like markets and yields are up because Trump seems credibly irresponsible. But he's also self interested. Therefore any political pressure he applies to monetary policy should end up inflationary because that would benefit him. And that's also what markets want now. Expectations of future inflation = higher 10 year treasury yields = higher stock prices. Just a hunch...

Weir writes:

On the other hand, Tyler was right to claim the U.S. had an immigration backlash in 2016. It didn't actually require an election to prove this point: Already, when Trump hijacked the GOP, that was the proof.

John Thacker writes:


First question would be, what state do you live in? If your state wasn't close at all (say, Maryland), then there's no possible way it matters.

It's certainly the case that when Gary Johnson was polling higher, Trump did worse in the polls, and much of his last month gains were Republican leaners "coming home" to Trump from Johnson. At the same time, that doesn't necessarily tell us how the bitter enders who stuck with Johnson (which includes me, but I live in Maryland) would have voted. Hillary preferers would presumably like all the people who voted Johnson who had her as a second choice to switch, but not those who would have switched to Trump. I don't think it works that way, momentum has an effect.

A better criticism from their perspective is that they should have preferred not only a better Johnson campaign, but one a little more targeted towards right-libertarians than left-libertarians. A strong defense of RFRA, for example.

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