Arbitrage in the InTrade Dem VP Market

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There has been an unexploited arbitrage opportunity in the Intrade Democratic VP market (&#8221-2008 Democratic VP Nominee (others upon request)&#8221-). As the attachment shows, you can sell the slate of candidates for 123.2 (just sum the bids) while you will only have to payout 100. This possibility has existed for at least three weeks, and is particularly puzzling now given that the announcement is likely to occur this week.

What is also a bit odd is that Intrade has another market (&#8221-2008 Democratic Vice-Presidential Nominee (with Field contract)&#8221-) on the same outcome which includes a catch-all field contract which does not have the same arb&#8211-again see the attachment below. It is substantially cheaper to buy the field contract in the second market than the omitted candidates (Kaine, Sebelius, Hagel, Schweitzer, Gephardt, Kerry, and others) in the first market.

Any thoughts on why this is occurring?

attachment: intradedemvp_summedbidsexceed100.pdf

VP conditional probabilities

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BetFair is running markets on both who will be the next vice president and who will be nominated by the two parties.

As we&#8217-ve discussed before in other contexts, one can divide two probabilities like these to obtain a conditional probability: e.g., if the Democrats put X on the ticket, they will win the general election Y% of the time (where Y = odds of X becoming VP/odds of X being nominated).

These markets are thin, so the conditional probabilities should be taken with a grain of salt. But they are interesting nonetheless:

The pattern I see here is that conditional probabilities are higher for fresh faces (Webb, Sebelius- and arguably Bayh and Richardson despite their longer tenure) than for the old guard (Clinton, Nunn, Biden).

Of course, these should be viewed as correlations, not necessarily causal effects. For example, two possible explanations are: 1) putting a fresh face on the ticket helps Obama, either because there is less baggage or less of a contrast in national-politics resume length, or 2) Obama will only pick an old guard candidate in the state of the world in which he needs to shore up a weakness (i.e., picking Clinton to end a civil war, or Nunn to add foreign policy experience).
On the GOP side:

Huckabee has the highest conditional probability, and Pawlenty and Jindal are noticeably lower. Interpreting this one is harder: it depends on what aspect of Huckabee one thinks the market is expecting to be appealing (religion, likeability, Southernness, selective economic populism).

Technical note: the bids and asks reported above are actual quotes scrapped this AM- the mids are (bid+ask)/2, rescaled to add to 100 across all candidates.