Friday, 9 October 2009

Gambling on your grades?

I got this link from Marginal Revolutions, an economics blog with multiple authors. There are markets in everything. Including, apparently, gambling on your grade:

While hanging out together one Sunday afternoon, I mentioned to my friend Steven Wolf that I had an exam the following day and that if I were to study I was sure to get an A. (At the time, I was a student at University of Pennsylvania.)  But I was enjoying my Sunday afternoon, and I told Steven that I had no intention of studying. That's when, in order to provide me with motivation, we made the following agreement: If I got an A on the exam, he would give me $100, and if I didn't get an A, I would give him $20. Steven and I quickly realized that lots of other students might like this kind of motivation.  To that end, we began developing what is now Ultrinsic Motivator Inc. - Jeremy Gelbart
 Ultrinsic.com is company that offers you a chance to buy class insurance, speculate on your grades, and other organized and legalized forms of gambling. I'm of mixed feelings on this. I do recognize that college education is a massive investment, and investments deserve insurance (Car, Home, Health...), so why not education? On the other hand, this makes me feel a bit uneasy. What do you all think? I'm curious to hear your two cents.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is an interesting idea. It's like if someone asks you to bet against your favorite sports team. Then it's win-win because either your favorite team wins, or at least you make some money. Yet this makes me uneasy as well.

gpc said...

It made me laugh -- but it also makes me uneasy when cleverness is invested into a money-making scheme when, with far less effort, that same cleverness could have been used to gain a good education. I'm afraid I don't see money-making as a good substitute for learning, but that could just be my empty wallet talking! I suppose these are the kinds of clever kids who end up on (shudder) Wall Street.

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Blech, insurance for bets. Oh how I loathe insurance companies --scam artists!

TwoYaks said...

@Anon: Yeah. And if your grades suffers, then you get some cash to cover the damages you suffered from the low grade.

@GPC: Most cleverness is routed into money making schemes. It's just some we think of as more legit than others. But when you get down to it, the average person inventing the iPod or working in a factory is trying to work as little for as much money as she can, too. Though, just because it's human nature doesn't make it right...

@Dave: I don't mean insurance on your bet, but that insurance is a bet. An insurance policy is just legalized gambling: You're betting that you'll cost them x dollars (policy) before you pay them y dollars (in dues). Auto insurance is gambling that you'll have an accident. Life insurance is gambling that you'll die before you pay them more than your family gets from your policy. If you think about it, it's all... kinda creepy.