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Rational Frenzies and Crashes

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  • Jeremy Bulow
  • Paul Klemperer

Abstract

Most markets clear through a sequence of sales rather than through a Walrasian auctioneer. Because buyers can decide between buying now or later, rather than only now or never, buyers' current 'willingness to pay' is much more sensitive to price than is the demand curve. A consequence is that markets will be extremely sensitive to new information, leading to both 'frenzies, " where demand feeds upon itself, and "crashes," where price drops discontinuously. Although no buyer's independent reservation value reveals much about overall demand, a small increase in one such value can cause a large increase or decrease in average price.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Technical Working Papers with number 0112.

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Date of creation: Sep 1991
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Publication status: published as Journal of Political Economy, vol. 102, no. 1, pp. 1-23, (February 1993)
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberte:0112

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  1. William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, 03.
  2. Welch, Ivo, 1992. " Sequential Sales, Learning, and Cascades," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 695-732, June.
  3. Bulow, Jeremy & Roberts, John, 1989. "The Simple Economics of Optimal Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1060-90, October.
  4. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1981. "A Theory of Monopoly Pricing Schemes with Demand Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 347-65, June.
  5. John G. Riley & William Samuelson, 1979. "Optimal Auctions," UCLA Economics Working Papers 152, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
  7. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
  8. Gerard Gennotte and Hayne Leland., 1989. "Market Liquidity, Hedging and Crashes," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-184, University of California at Berkeley.
  9. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
  10. Roger B. Myerson & Mark A. Satterthwaite, 1981. "Efficient Mechanisms for Bilateral Trading," Discussion Papers 469S, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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