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Beauty Contested. How much of Keynes’ remains in Behavioural Economics Beauty Contests?

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  • Alessandro Lanteri

    ()

  • Anna Carabelli

    ()

Abstract

In one of the most famous passages of economic literature, John Maynard Keynes (1936, p.156) likens the stock market to a beauty contest in which the winners are those who anticipate the average opinion. Recently there have been attempts at investigating the BC experimentally (Nagel 1995, Duffy & Nagel 1997, Ho et al. 1998, Bosch-Domenech et al. 2002, Güth et al. 2002). In Experimental Beauty Contests, participants choose a real number from a closed interval, e.g. I [0,100]. Whoever picks the number closest to p times the average (usuallywith p = 2/3) is the winner of a monetary reward. An experiment like this is dominance solvable: the process of iterated elimination of dominated strategies leads to the unique and stable equilibrium at which every player chooses zero, and every player wins. Keynes’ metaphor, on the other hand, referred to a situation in which not all participants can win, so that the goal of individual investors and speculators must be “to outwit the crowd” (p. 152). Despite the differences, the Keynesian theory of decision under uncertainty tallies with the behaviour observed in Experimental Beauty Contests.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ICER - International Centre for Economic Research in its series ICER Working Papers with number 20-2008.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:icr:wpicer:20-2008

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Keywords: Beauty Contest; Behavioural Economics; Keynes; Reasoning.;

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  1. Güth, Werner & Kocher, Martin G. & Sutter, Matthias, 2002. "Experimental 'beauty contests' with homogeneous and heterogeneous players and with interior and boundary equilibria," Munich Reprints in Economics 18165, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  3. Novarese, Marco & Lanteri, Alessandro, 2007. "Individual learning: theory formation, and feedback in a complex task," MPRA Paper 3049, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Rosemarie Nagel & Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Albert Satorra & José García Montalvo, 1999. "One, two, (three), infinity: Newspaper and lab beauty-contest experiments," Economics Working Papers 438, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  5. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2008:i:52:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Tirole, Jean, 1982. "On the Possibility of Speculation under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1163-81, September.
  7. Duffy, John & Nagel, Rosemarie, 1997. "On the Robustness of Behaviour in Experimental "Beauty Contest" Games," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1684-1700, November.
  8. Alessandro Lanteri & Marco Novarese, 2008. "The beauty of the contest: A novel approach to experimental beauty contests," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 3(52), pages 1-10.
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Cited by:
  1. Fabio D'Orlando & Eleonora Sanfilippo, 2008. "Behavioral Foundations for the Keynesian Consumption Function," Working Papers 2008-05, Universita' di Cassino, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche.
  2. Marcuzzo, Maria Cristina, 2012. "Speculation and regulation in commodity markets: The Keynesian approach in theory and practice," MPRA Paper 44131, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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