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Safety in Markets: An Impossibility Theorem for Dutch Books

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  • David Laibson
  • Leeat Yariv

Abstract

This paper explores the extent to which markets constrain intertemporal preferences. First, we show that without transaction costs, agents are immune to exploitation in competitive markets. In particular, a sequence of trades leaving any market participant strictly worse off (termed a money losing Dutch book) is generically impossible. When transaction costs exist in the market, Dutch books are plausible only when agents have inaccurate beliefs about their own future behavior. Thus, markets are appropriate filters of non-standard (time-inconsistent) preferences only when sufficient irrational behavioral expectations are allowed. Second, we show that while non-standard preferences may be sustained in competitive markets, they are generically non-identifiable. Under mild conditions, any profile of demands can be explained with a standard, time-consistent, model. Nonetheless, we demonstrate that such a model will have weak predictive power across markets if non-standard preferences indeed prevail.

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Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 122247000000001746.

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Date of creation: 12 Dec 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:122247000000001746

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  1. Border, Kim C & Segal, Uzi, 1994. "Dutch Books and Conditional Probability," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(422), pages 71-75, January.
  2. Alvaro Sandroni, 2000. "Do Markets Favor Agents Able to Make Accurate Predicitions?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(6), pages 1303-1342, November.
  3. Spiegler, Ran, 2006. "Competition over agents with boundedly rational expectations," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 1(2), pages 207-231, June.
  4. Border, K.C. & Segal, U., 1997. "Coherent Odds and Subjective Probability," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9717, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  5. Heifetz, Aviad & Shannon, Chris & Spiegel, Yossi, 2007. "What to maximize if you must," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 31-57, March.
  6. Green, Jerry, 1987. ""Making Book against Oneself," the Independence Axiom, and Nonlinear Utility Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 785-96, November.
  7. Erzo Luttmer & Thomas Mariotti, 2006. "Competitive equilibrium when preferences change over time," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 679-690, 04.
  8. Ariel Rubinstein & Rani Spiegler, 2005. "Money Pumps in the Market," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000941, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Harris, Christopher J, 1985. "Existence and Characterization of Perfect Equilibrium in Games of Perfect Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 613-28, May.
  10. Laibson, David I. & Gabaix, Xavier, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," Scholarly Articles 4554333, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2006. "Paying Not to Go to the Gym," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 694-719, June.
  12. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Narayana R. Kocherlakota., 2001. "Looking for evidence of time-inconsistent preferences in asset market data," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 13-24.
  14. Kubler, Felix, 2003. "Observable restrictions of general equilibrium models with financial markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 110(1), pages 137-153, May.
  15. M.J. Todd & A. Fostel & H.E. Scarf, 2004. "Two New Proofs of Afriat's Theorem," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 632, Econometric Society.
  16. Erzo G. J. Luttmer & Thomas Mariotti, 2003. "Subjective Discounting in an Exchange Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 959-989, October.
  17. Larry Blume & David Easley, 2001. "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich? Belief Selection in Complete and Incomplete Markets," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1319, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  18. David Laibson & Xavier Gabaix, 2004. "Competition and Consumer Confusion," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 663, Econometric Society.
  19. Cubitt, Robin P. & Sugden, Robert, 2001. "On Money Pumps," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 121-160, October.
  20. Blume, Lawrence & Easley, David, 1992. "Evolution and market behavior," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 9-40, October.
  21. Machina, Mark J, 1989. "Dynamic Consistency and Non-expected Utility Models of Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 1622-68, December.
  22. Debreu, Gerard, 1993. "Existence of competitive equilibrium," Handbook of Mathematical Economics, in: K. J. Arrow & M.D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Mathematical Economics, edition 4, volume 2, chapter 15, pages 697-743 Elsevier.
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Cited by:
  1. Azevedo, Eduardo M. & Gottlieb, Daniel, 2012. "Risk-neutral firms can extract unbounded profits from consumers with prospect theory preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(3), pages 1291-1299.
  2. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 505-540, May.
  3. Ariel Rubinstein & Ran Spiegler, 2008. "Money Pumps in the Market," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(1), pages 237-253, 03.
  4. Kfir Eliaz & Ran Spiegler, 2004. "Contracting with Diversely Naïve Agents," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000530, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Berg, Nathan & Biele, Guido & Gigerenzer, Gerd, 2010. "Does Consistency Predict Accuracy of Beliefs?: Economists Surveyed About PSA," MPRA Paper 24976, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Ernst Fehr & Jean-Robert Tyran, . "Individual Irrationality and Aggregate Outcomes," IEW - Working Papers 252, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  7. Lang, Matthias & Wambach, Achim, 2013. "The fog of fraud – Mitigating fraud by strategic ambiguity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 255-275.

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