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Thar She Blows: Can Bubbles Be Rekindled with Experienced Subjects?

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  • Reshmaan N. Hussam
  • David Porter
  • Vernon L. Smith

Abstract

We report 28 new experiment sessions consisting of up to three experience levels to examine the robustness of learning and "error" elimination among participants in a laboratory asset market and its effect on price bubbles. Our answer to the title question is: "yes." We impose a large increase in liquidity and dividend uncertainty to shock the environment of experienced subjects who have converged to equilibrium, and this treatment rekindles a bubble. However, in replications of that same challenging environment across three experience levels, we discover that the environment yields a rare residual tendency to bubble even in the third experience session. Therefore, a caveat must be placed on the effect of twice-experienced subjects in asset markets: in order for price bubbles to be extinguished, the environment in which the participants engage in exchange must be stationary and bounded by a range of parameters. Experience, including possible "error" elimination, is not robust to major new environment changes in determining the characteristics of a price bubble.

Suggested Citation

  • Reshmaan N. Hussam & David Porter & Vernon L. Smith, 2008. "Thar She Blows: Can Bubbles Be Rekindled with Experienced Subjects?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 924-937, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:3:p:924-37 Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.3.924
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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