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The Market: Catalyst for Rationality and Filter of Irrationality

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  • John A. List
  • Daniel Millimet

Abstract

Assumptions of individual rationality and preference stability provide the foundation for a convenient and tractable modeling approach. While both of these assumptions have come under scrutiny in distinct literatures, the two lines of research remain disjointed. This study begins by explicitly linking the two literatures while providing insights into whether market experience mitigates one specific form of individual rationality—consistent preferences. Using field experimental data gathered from more than 800 experimental subjects, we find evidence that the market is a catalyst for this type of rationality. The study then focuses on aggregate market outcomes by examining empirically whether individual rationality of this sort is a prerequisite for market efficiency. Using a complementary field experiment, we gathered data from more than 380 subjects of age 6-18 in multi-lateral bargaining markets at a shopping mall. We find that our chosen market institution is a filter of irrationality: even when markets are populated solely by irrational buyers, aggregate market outcomes converge to the intersection of the supply and demand functions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 122247000000000023.

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Date of creation: 29 Jan 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:122247000000000023

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  1. John List, 2004. "The nature and extent of discrimination in the marketplace: Evidence from the field," Natural Field Experiments 00299, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity Score-Matching Methods For Nonexperimental Causal Studies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 151-161, February.
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  5. repec:feb:framed:0081 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. John A. List, 2004. "Testing Neoclassical Competitive Theory in Multilateral Decentralized Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 1131-1156, October.
  7. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Causal Effects in Non-Experimental Studies: Re-Evaluating the Evaluation of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 6586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
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  23. Gode, Dhananjay K & Sunder, Shyam, 1993. "Allocative Efficiency of Markets with Zero-Intelligence Traders: Market as a Partial Substitute for Individual Rationality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 119-37, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Maria Porter, 2014. "For Love or Reward? Characterising Preferences for Giving to Parents in an Experimental Setting," Economics Series Working Papers 709, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. John A. List, 2011. "Does Market Experience Eliminate Market Anomalies? The Case of Exogenous Market Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 313-17, May.
  3. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till & Bizer, Kilian, 2013. "Anchoring: A valid explanation for biased forecasts when rational predictions are easily accessible and well incentivized?," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 166, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  4. Proeger, Till & Meub, Lukas, 2014. "Overconfidence as a social bias: Experimental evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 203-207.
  5. Costa-Gomes, Miguel A. & Huck, Steffen & Weizsäcker, Georg, 2012. "Beliefs and actions in the trust game: Creating instrumental variables to estimate the causal effect," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2012-302, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  6. List, John & Millimet, Daniel, . "Bounding the Impact of Market Experience on Rationality: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Imperfect Compliance," Departmental Working Papers 0505, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
  7. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till, 2014. "Are groups 'less behavioral'? The case of anchoring," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 188, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  8. Jonathan E. Alevy & Craig E. Landry & John A. List, 2011. "Field Experiments on Anchoring of Economic Valuations," Working Papers 2011-02, University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Economics.
  9. Jonathan D. Ketcham & Claudio Lucarelli & Eugenio J. Miravete & M. Christopher Roebuck, 2012. "Sinking, Swimming, or Learning to Swim in Medicare Part D," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2639-73, October.
  10. V. Smith & Eric Moore, 2010. "Behavioral Economics and Benefit Cost Analysis," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(2), pages 217-234, June.

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