In late March 1988 three economists from the University of Iowa were nursing beers at a local hangout in Iowa City, when conversation turned to the news of the day. Jesse Jackson had captured 55 percent of the votes in the Michigan Democratic caucuses, an outcome that the polls had failed to intimate. The ensuing grumbling about the unreliability of polls sparked the germ of an idea. At the time, experimental economics—in which economic theory is tested by observing the behavior of groups, usually in a classroom setting—had just come into vogue, which prompted the three drinking partners to deliberate about whether a market might do better than the polls.