- Series: ECONOMIC THEORY, ECONOMETRICS, AND MATHEMATICAL ECONOMICS
- Hardcover: 648 pages
- Publisher: Academic Press; First Printing edition (December 2, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0123330300
- ISBN-13: 978-0123330307
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,159,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Efficiency of Racetrack Betting Markets (ECONOMIC THEORY, ECONOMETRICS, AND MATHEMATICAL ECONOMICS) First Printing Edition
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I believe this is the only review I have ever written for a book I do not own. While I was working at a university in the late nineties, I was lucky enough to stumble upon a copy of this in their library after reading Ziemba and Hausch's landmark Beat the Track. For the year between my finding it and my switching jobs, the book was out of the library and in my hands every day. I renewed as often as I could, and when I couldn't, I would drop it off on my way to work and take it out again on my way home. They were inclined to be lenient, because I was the only person who had ever taken the book out of the library.
Let me get one thing straight from the outset: folks, this is not your momma's handicapping manual. For that matter, it's not your shady Uncle George's handicapping manual, either. It's a graduate-level econ textbook. And if you have no background in math (as I didn't at the time, and I still have only what I've gleaned thanks to Howard Sartin and Tom Brohamer), your first trip through this large and ponderous tome will be torturous. You might want to bone up on your equations, not to mention keeping a small handbook of "what Greek letters mean to economists" by your side at all times.
Eventually, however, you will dig your way down to the meaning of the first paper. And then the second. And then the third. And so on. And for the horseplayer with an academic bent (definition, gleaned from some nasty comments during a discussion on the book that irked some folks who didn't like what they were hearing: any bettor who read Rosecrance's The Degenerates of Lake Tahoe and was able to laugh when finding a description of someone a lot like him), figuring out what these people are on about is the rough equivalent of discovering the tombs of Tutankhamen, Rameses, and Nefertiti all at the same time, and finding incontrovertible proof that Anubis really DID carry their souls off to the realm of the dead in the process. It's true that any bright middle-school student who has a good grasp of fractions will be able to get Beat the Track, and praise the powers that be that Ziemba and Hausch are capable of translating this morass into something most people can understand, even if they only touched on a portion of one of Ziemba's papers (which is the first one presented here). If the middle-school student is really, REALLY bright, is what the classifieds today call a self-starter (read: willing to try and figure this stuff out on his own), and has access to a tutor and/or writings that can explain some of the more esoteric facts, and has six months or so free to decipher this stuff full-time, said bright middle-schooler can probably find the keys to the kingdom. And get a pretty solid understanding of econ jargon in the process (which could lead to blowing the curve in Freshman-level econ classes in a few years).
I've been considering going back to school and learning to be an accountant. Before I do so, I have every intention of acquiring a copy of this hefty tome, which will likely set me back a year's tuition or more, and using it so I, too, can blow the curve. Of course, if it helps me make enough money to pay for school in the process, that would be quite a bonus, but the real value here is in showing, once and for all, that depending on your point of view, either horse race investing is no more a gamble than playing the stock market, or that playing the stock market is just as much a gamble as putting your two bucks on the nose of Glue Factory Refugee in the seventh at Charles Town on Friday night. *****
The book contains approximately 60 academic papers divided into seven categories. As academic papers, each of the paper goes into significant depth regarding narrow topics. The organization of the book attempts to bridge between the topics. Some of the papers are "classics" written as early as the 1940's. Papers include the classics by Harville, Hausch, Asch and Benter. The authors of the papers include mathematicians, psychologists and gamblers. Some value in the book is derived through identification of these authors to search for their other works. The bibliography and acknowledgements are uniquely useful.
Frankly, after reading the majority of the papers, I am not sure I understand the exhorbitant pricing for the book. I do not see any conclusions or recommendations that aren't contained in a range of handicapping books, and the individual papers are readily available to anyone willing to invest the time to research at a major technical library. The book is a good one, but not as great as the price would lead you to believe.
nearly every mathematical model of an event results in tautologies, in that the model rests upon assumptions not contained within the condition it abstracts. proof of the adequacy of the model, therefore, rests less upon its predictive power--although, perhaps, accurate when applied to a subset of the universe about which it discourses--than its meta-logical, meta-factual persuasions. logical systems are axiomatic, that is, deductive; where-as real systems are conditional and probabilistic, and give rise to frequent contradiction. efficiency market theory suffers from these persuasions, from these tautologies, and insinuates its bias in the conclusions it draws.
efficiency exists only so long as an equilibrium exists in the underlying dynamic: once an efficiency is embraced by the players in a game as a "law", the preponderance of opinion must necessarily neglect the exceptions to its beliefs, and thus, bring about that inefficiency which it arose to defray: the exception is undervalued, and this elevates its worth.