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Beauty contests under private information and diverse beliefs: how different?

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  • Kurz, Mordecai
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    Abstract

    Abstract: The paper contrasts theories that explain diverse belief by asymmetric private information (in short PI) with theories which postulate agents use subjective heterogenous beliefs (in short HB). We focus on problems where agents forecast aggregates such as profit rate of the S&P500 and our model is similar to the one used in the literature on asset pricing (e.g. Brown and Jennings (1989), Grundy and McNichols (1989), Allen, Morris and Shin (2003)). We first argue there is no a-priori conceptual basis to assuming PI about economic aggregates. Since PI is not observed, models with PI offer no testable hypotheses, making it possible to prove anything with PI. In contrast, agents with HB reveal their forecasts hence data on market belief is used to test hypotheses of HB. We show the common knowledge assumptions of the PI theory are implausible. The theories differ on four main analytical issues. (1) The pricing theory under PI implies prices have infinite memory and at each t depend upon unobservable variables. In contrast, under HB prices have finite memory and depend only upon observable variables. (2) The “Beauty Contest” implications of the two are different. Under PI today’s price depends upon today’s market belief about tomorrow’s mean belief about “fundamental” variables. Under HB it depends upon today’s market belief about tomorrow’s market beliefs. Tomorrow’s beliefs are, in part, beliefs about future beliefs and are often mistaken. Market forecast mistakes are key to Beauty Contests, and are a central cause of market uncertainty called “endogenous uncertainty.” (3) Contrary to PI, theories with HB have wide empirical implications which are testable with available data. (4) PI theories assume unobserved data and hence do not restrict behavior, while rationality conditions impose restrictions on any HB theory. We explain the tight restrictions on the model’s parameters imposed by the theory of Rational Beliefs.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 233.

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    Date of creation: 04 Aug 2006
    Date of revision: Apr 2006
    Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:233

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    Related research

    Keywords: private information; Bayesian learning; updating beliefs; heterogenous beliefs; asset pricing; Rational Beliefs;

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    References

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    1. Townsend, Robert M, 1983. "Forecasting the Forecasts of Others," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 546-88, August.
    2. Wang, Jiang, 1959- & He, Hua., 1994. "Differential information and dynamic behavior of stock trading volume," Working papers 3731-94., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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    18. Christian Hellwig, 2002. "Public Announcements, Adjustment Delays, and the Business Cycle (November 2002)," UCLA Economics Online Papers 208, UCLA Department of Economics.
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    20. Philippe Bacchetta & Eric van Wincoop, 2005. "Can Information Heterogeneity Explain the Exchange Rate Determination?," FAME Research Paper Series rp155, International Center for Financial Asset Management and Engineering.
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    24. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
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    Cited by:
    1. Kurz, Mordecai & Motolese, Maurizio, 2006. "Risk Premia, diverse belief and beauty contests," MPRA Paper 247, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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