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On the Failure of Core Convergence in Economies with Asymmetric Information


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  • Roberto Serrano
  • Rajiv Vohra
  • Oscar Volij


In interim economies with asymmetric information, we show a robust failure of the core convergence theorem. We begin by showing that the coarse core of Wilson (1978) does not converge to any set of price equilibrium allocations considered in the literature. To prove our main point we construct a simple example of a replicated sunspot economy with strictly convex and monotonic preferences. We also show that the coarse core may not satisfy the equal treatment property. Moreover, coarse core allocations satisfying the equal treatment property may not converge to price equilibrium allocations. The result applies to any notion of price equilibrium (including rational expectations equilibria, Radner equilibria, sunspot equilibria) in which fully informed consumers receive a consumption plan maximizing ex-post utility over the ex-post budget set. The non-convergence result holds for several different notions of the interim core proposed in the literature, including the fine core (Wilson (1978)), the private core (Yannelis (1991)), the core in the pooling case (Ichiishi and Idzik (1996), Goenka and Shell (1997)), the incentive compatible core (Vohra (1999)), the coarse+ core (Lee and Volij (forthcoming)), the core with endogenous communication (Volij (forthcoming)). This failure of core convergence is a basic consequence of asymmetric information, which at the interim stage, imposes important restrictions on coalition formation. (Informational constraints may rule out many coalitions of types of consumers that would be present in the standard Debreu and Scarf (1963) complete information framework.) In particular, our negative results do not rely on the lack of `informational smallness' of agents (at least in the sense in which this term has recently been formalized in McLean and Postlewaite (1999)).

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Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Econometrica.

Volume (Year): 69 (2001)
Issue (Month): 6 (November)
Pages: 1685-1696

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Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:69:y:2001:i:6:p:1685-1696

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  1. Robert M. Anderson and Walter Trockel and Lin Zhou., 1994. "Nonconvergence of the Mas-Colell and Zhou Bargaining Sets," Economics Working Papers 94-224, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Anderson, Robert M. & Zame, William R., 1995. "Edgeworth's Conjecture with Infinitely Many Commodities," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt5kb2x3cd, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Edward C Prescott & Robert M Townsend, 2010. "Pareto Optima and Competitive Equilibria With Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2069, David K. Levine.
  4. Anderson, Robert M., 1992. "The core in perfectly competitive economies," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 413-457 Elsevier.
  5. Gul, Faruk & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Asymptotic Efficiency in Large Exchange Economies with Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(6), pages 1273-92, November.
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