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Price Destabilizing Speculation

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Author Info

  • Hart, Oliver D.
  • Kreps, David M.

Abstract

It is sometimes asserted that rational speculative activity must result in more stable prices because speculators buy when prices are low and sell when they are high. This is incorrect. Speculators buy when the chances of price appreciation are high, selling when the chances are low. Speculative activity in an economy in which all agents are rational, have identical priors, and have access to identical information may destabilize prices, under any reasonable definition of destabilization. It takes extremely strong conditions to ensure that speculative activity (of the commodity storage variety) "stabilizes" prices, even in a very weak sense.

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File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/3448679/Hart_PriceDestabilizing.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 3448679.

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Date of creation: 1986
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Political Economy -Chicago-
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:3448679

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  1. Wright, Brian D & Williams, Jeffrey C, 1982. "The Economic Role of Commodity Storage," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 596-614, September.
  2. Newbery, David M G & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Pareto Inferior Trade," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 1-12, January.
  3. Kohn, Meir, 1978. "Competitive Speculation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1061-76, September.
  4. Shiller, Robert J, 1981. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 421-36, June.
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