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The Power of Sunspots: An Experimental Analysis

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  • Dietmar Fehr
  • Frank Heinemann
  • Aniol Llorente-Saguer

Abstract

We present an experiment in which extrinsic information (signals) may generate sunspot equilibria. The underlying coordination game has a unique symmetric non-sunspot equilibrium, which is also risk-dominant. Other equilibria can be ordered according to risk dominance. We compare treatments with different salient, but extrinsic signals. By increasing the precision of private signals, we manipulate the available public information, which allows us to measure the force of extrinsic signals. We also vary the number of signals and combine public and private signals, allowing us to see how subjects aggregate available (and possibly irrelevant) information. Results indicate that sunspot equilibria emerge naturally if there are salient (but extrinsic) public signals. However, salient private signals of high precision may also cause sunspot-driven behavior, even though this is no equilibrium. The higher the precision of signals and the easier they can be aggregated, the more powerful they are in dragging behavior away from the risk-dominant to risk-dominated strategies. Sunspot-driven behavior may lead to welfare losses and exert negative externalities on agents, who do not receive extrinsic signals.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany in its series SFB 649 Discussion Papers with number SFB649DP2011-070.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hum:wpaper:sfb649dp2011-070

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Keywords: coordination games; strategic uncertainty; sunspot equilibria; irrelevant information;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bocart, Fabian Y.R.P. & Hafner, Christian M., 2012. "Econometric analysis of volatile art markets," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 56(11), pages 3091-3104.
  2. Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Nicolaas J. Vriend, 2008. "On the role of non-equilibrium focal points as coordination devices," Economics Working Papers 1064, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  3. Nikolaus Hautsch & Julia Schaumburg & Melanie Schienle, 2011. "Financial Network Systemic Risk Contributions," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2011-072, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  4. Jasmina Arifovic & George Evans & Olena Kostyshyna, 2013. "Are Sunspots Learnable? An Experimental Investigation in a Simple General-Equilibrium Model," Working Papers 13-14, Bank of Canada.
  5. Jasmina Arifovic & Janet Hua Jiang, 2014. "Do Sunspots Matter? Evidence from an Experimental Study of Bank Runs," Working Papers 14-12, Bank of Canada.
  6. Raffaele Fiocco, 2011. "Competition and regulation in a differentiated good market," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2011-084, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  7. Bizer, Kilian & Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till & Spiwoks, Markus, 2014. "Strategic coordination in forecasting: An experimental study," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 195, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  8. Camille Cornand & Frank Heinemann & Tobias, 2013. "Limited higher order beliefs and the welfare effects of public information," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2013-039, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  9. Ulrich Horst & Michael Kupper & Andrea Macrina & Christoph Mainberger, 2011. "Continuous Equilibrium under Base Preferences and Attainable Initial Endowments," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2011-082, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  10. Patrick Cheridito & Ulrich Horst & Michael Kupper & Traian A. Pirvu, 2011. "Equilibrium Pricing in Incomplete Markets under Translation Invariant Preferences," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2011-083, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  11. Alena Myšičková & Song Song & Piotr Majer & Peter N.C. Mohr & Hauke R. Heekeren & Wolfgang K. Härdle, 2011. "Risk Patterns and Correlated Brain Activities. Multidimensional statistical analysis of fMRI data with application to risk patterns," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2011-085, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.

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