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Extreme Walrasian Dynamics: The Gale Example in the Lab

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  • Sean Crockett
  • Ryan Oprea
  • Charles Plott

Abstract

We study David Gale's (1963) economy using laboratory markets. Tatonnement theory predicts prices will diverge from an equitable interior equilibrium toward infinity or zero depending only on initial prices. The inequitable equilibria determined by these dynamics give all gains from exchange to one side of the market. We show surprisingly strong support for these predictions. In most sessions one side of the market eventually outgains the other by more than 20 times, leaving the disadvantaged side to trade for mere pennies. We also find preliminary evidence that these dynamics are sticky, resisting exogenous interventions designed to reverse their trajectories. (JEL C92, D50)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
Issue (Month): 7 (December)
Pages: 3196-3220

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:7:p:3196-3220

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  1. Hurwicz, Leonid & Radner, Roy & Reiter, Stanley, 1975. "A Stochastic Decentralized Resource Allocation Process: Part II," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 43(3), pages 363-93, May.
  2. Charles R. Plott & Jared Smith, 1999. "Instability of Equilibria in Experimental Markets: Upward-Sloping Demands, Externalities, and Fad-Like Incentives," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 405-426, January.
  3. Bergstrom Theodore C & Shimomura Ken-Ichi & Yamato Takehiko, 2009. "Simple Economies with Multiple Equilibria," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-31, December.
  4. Anderson, Christopher M. & Plott, Charles R. & Shimomura, K.-I.Ken-Ichi & Granat, Sander, 2004. "Global instability in experimental general equilibrium: the Scarf example," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 209-249, April.
  5. Hirota, Masayoshi & Hsu, Ming & Plott, Chrales R. & Rogers, Brian W., 2005. "Divergence, closed cycles and convergence in scarf environments: Experiments in the dynamics of general equilibrium systems," Working Papers 1239, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  6. Steven Gjerstad, 2007. "Price Dynamics in an Exchange Economy," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1205, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  7. Kirman, Alan, 1989. "The Intrinsic Limits of Modern Economic Theory: The Emperor Has No Clothes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(395), pages 126-39, Supplemen.
  8. Omar Al-Ubaydli & John A. List & Michael K. Price, 2010. "The Nature of Excess: Using Randomized Treatments to Investigate Price Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 16319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. E. Randon & P. Simmons, 2012. "A Top Dog Tale with Preference Rigidities," Working Papers wp839, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  2. Plott, Charles & Roy, Nilanjan & Tong, Baojia, 2013. "Marshall and Walras, disequilibrium trades and the dynamics of equilibration in the continuous double auction market," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 190-205.

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