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Learning in Cobweb Experiments

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Author Info

  • C.H. Hommes

    ()
    (CeNDEF, Dept of Quantitative Economics, FEE, University of Amsterdam)

  • J.H. Sonnemans

    ()
    (CREED, CeNDEF, Dept of Economics, FEE, University of Amsterdam)

  • J. Tuinstra

    ()
    (CeNDEF, Dept of Quantitative Economics, FEE, University of Amsterdam)

  • H. van de Velde

    ()
    (CeNDEF, Dept of Quantitative Economics, FEE, University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

Different theories of expectation formation and learning usually yield different outcomes for realized market prices in dynamic models. The purpose of this paper is to investigate expectation formation and learning in a controlled experimental environment. Subjects are asked to predict the next period's aggregate price in a dynamic commodity market model with feedback from individual expectations. Subjects have no information about underlying market equilibrium equations, but can learn by observing past price realizations and predictions. We conduct a stable, an unstable, and a strongly unstable treatment. In the stable treatment, rational expectations (RE) yield a good description of observed aggregate price fluctuations: prices remain close to the RE steady state. In the unstable treatments, prices exhibit large fluctuations around the RE steady state. Although the sample mean of realized prices is close to the RE steady state, the amplitude of the price fluctuations as measured by the variance is significantly larger than the amplitude under RE, implying persistent excess volatility. However, agents' forecasts are boundedly rational in the sense that fluctuations in aggregate prices are unpredictable and exhibit no forecastable structure that could easily be exploited. This discussion paper has resulted in a publication in Macroeconomic Dynamics , 2007, 11, Supplement S1, 8-33.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 03-020/1.

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Date of creation: 11 Mar 2003
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20030020

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

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Keywords: expectations; learning; cobweb dynamics; excess volatility.;

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  1. Kirman, A., 1997. "Interaction and Markets," ASSET - Instituto De Economia Publica 166, ASSET (Association of Southern European Economic Theorists).
  2. Hommes, Cars H., 1994. "Dynamics of the cobweb model with adaptive expectations and nonlinear supply and demand," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 315-335, August.
  3. Marimon, Ramon & Sunder, Shyam, 1993. "Indeterminacy of Equilibria in a Hyperinflationary World: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1073-107, September.
  4. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Kenneth A. Froot, 1987. "Using Survey Data to Test Some Standard Propositions Regarding Exchange Rate Expectations," NBER Working Papers 1672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Guesnerie, R., 1989. "An Exploration of the Eductive Justifications of the Rational Expectations Hypotbesis," DELTA Working Papers 89-24, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  6. Marimon Ramon & Spear Stephen E. & Sunder Shyam, 1993. "Expectationally Driven Market Volatility: An Experimental Study," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 74-103, October.
  7. Grandmont Jean-michel & Laroque G, 1990. "Economic dynamics with learning : some instability examples," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9007, CEPREMAP.
  8. Smith, Vernon L & Suchanek, Gerry L & Williams, Arlington W, 1988. "Bubbles, Crashes, and Endogenous Expectations in Experimental Spot Asset Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1119-51, September.
  9. Evans, George W. & Honkapohja, Seppo, 1999. "Learning dynamics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 449-542 Elsevier.
  10. Cars Hommes & Joep Sonnemans & Jan Tuinstra & Henk van de Velden, 2004. "Coordination of Expectations in Asset Pricing Experiments," DNB Staff Reports (discontinued) 119, Netherlands Central Bank.
  11. Hommes, Cars & Sorger, Gerhard, 1998. "Consistent Expectations Equilibria," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(03), pages 287-321, September.
  12. Hugh Kelley & Daniel Friedman, 2002. "Learning to Forecast Price," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 556-573, October.
  13. Frankel, Jeffrey A & Froot, Kenneth A, 1987. "Using Survey Data to Test Standard Propositions Regarding Exchange Rate Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 133-53, March.
  14. Brock, W.A. & Hommes, C.H., 1996. "A Rational Route to Randomness," Working papers 9530r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  15. Robert J. Shiller, 1980. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," NBER Working Papers 0456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Guesnerie, R., 1999. "Anchoring Economic Predictions in Common Knowledge," DELTA Working Papers 1999-06, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  17. Arifovic, Jasmina, 1994. "Genetic algorithm learning and the cobweb model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 3-28, January.
  18. Chiarella, Carl, 1988. "The cobweb model: Its instability and the onset of chaos," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 377-384, October.
  19. Hey, John D., 1994. "Expectations formation: Rational or adaptive or ...?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 329-349, December.
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