IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Individual Irrationality and Aggregate Outcomes

  • Ernst Fehr
  • Jean-Robert Tyran

In their personal lives, many economists recognize that they are surrounded by individuals who are less than fully rational. In their professional lives, however, economists often use models that examine the interactions of fully rational agents. To reduce the cognitive dissonance of this situation, many economists believe that interactions in markets will correct or offset individually anomalous behaviors—although the reasons for this belief are often not clearly spelled out. This paper presents evidence indicating that "strategic complementarity" and "strategic substitutability" are important determinants of aggregate outcomes. Under strategic complementarity, a small amount of individual irrationality may lead to large deviations from the aggregate predictions of rational models; under strategic substitutability, a minority of rational agents may suffice to generate aggregate outcomes consistent with the predictions of rational models. Thus, the presence of strategic substitutability or complementarity seems to be a key condition in determining when a population that is heterogeneous with regard to rationality reaches either a "rational" or an "irrational" outcome.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/089533005775196651
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 19 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 43-66

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:19:y:2005:i:4:p:43-66
Note: DOI: 10.1257/089533005775196651
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/jep/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. John Haltiwanger & Michael Waldman, 1983. "Rational Expectations and the Limits of Rationality: An Analysis of Heterogeneity," UCLA Economics Working Papers 303, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Robert B. Barsky & J. Bradford De Long, 1992. "Why Does the Stock Market Fluctuate?," NBER Working Papers 3995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David Porter & Vernon Smith, 1994. "Stock market bubbles in the laboratory," Applied Mathematical Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 111-128.
  4. Peter Temin & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2003. "Riding the South Sea Bubble," Working Papers 91, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  5. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "The behavior of home buyers in boom and post-boom markets," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Nov, pages 29-46.
  6. Salop, Steven C, 1987. "Evaluating Uncertain Evidence with Sir Thomas Bayes: A Note for Teachers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 155-59, Summer.
  7. David Laibson & Leeat Yariv, 2007. "Safety in Markets: An Impossibility Theorem for Dutch Books," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001746, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. David Kreps & Paul Milgrom & John Roberts & Bob Wilson, 2010. "Rational Cooperation in the Finitely Repeated Prisoners' Dilemma," Levine's Working Paper Archive 239, David K. Levine.
  9. Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, 2003. "Wage Rigidity in a Competitive Incomplete Contract Market," Labor and Demography 0305001, EconWPA.
  10. Shafir, Eldar & Diamond, Peter & Tversky, Amos, 1997. "Money Illusion," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 341-74, May.
  11. John List, 2003. "Does market experience eliminate market anomalies?," Natural Field Experiments 00297, The Field Experiments Website.
  12. Agell, Jonas & Bennmarker, Helge, 2002. "Wage Policy and Endogenous Wage Rigidity: A Representative View from the Inside," Research Papers in Economics 2002:12, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  13. Jamal, Karim & Sunder, Shyam, 1996. "Bayesian equilibrium in double auctions populated by biased heuristic traders," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 273-291, November.
  14. Fehr, Ernst & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2004. "Money Illusion and Coordination Failure," IZA Discussion Papers 1013, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Randolph B. Cohen & Christopher Polk & Tuomo Vuolteenaho, 2005. "Money Illusion in the Stock Market: The Modigliani-Cohn Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 11018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Slembeck, Tilman & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2004. "Do institutions promote rationality?: An experimental study of the three-door anomaly," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 337-350, July.
  17. Lucy F. Ackert & Bryan K. Church & Richard Deaves, 2002. "Bubbles in experimental asset markets: Irrational exuberance no more," Working Paper 2002-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  18. Dilip Abreu & Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2003. "Bubbles and Crashes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 173-204, January.
  19. Frankel, Jeffrey A. & Froot, Kenneth A., 1986. "Explaining the Demand for Dollars: International Rates of Return and the Expectations of Chartists and Fundamentalists," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt26w957fs, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  20. Kooreman, Peter & Faber, Riemer & Hofmans, Heleen, 2004. "Charity Donations and the Euro Introduction: Some Quasi-Experimental Evidence on Money Illusion," IZA Discussion Papers 1318, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. " The Limits of Arbitrage," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 35-55, March.
  22. Ernst Fehr & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2001. "Does Money Illusion Matter?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1239-1262, December.
  23. J. Bradford De Long & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann, 1989. "Positive Feedback Investment Strategies and Destabilizing Rational Speculation," NBER Working Papers 2880, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Colin F. Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho & Juin-Kuan Chong, 2004. "A Cognitive Hierarchy Model of Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 861-898, August.
  25. J. Bradford De Long & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann,, . "The Survival of Noise Traders in Financial Markets," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _123, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
  26. Haltiwanger, John C & Waldman, Michael, 1989. "Limited Rationality and Strategic Complements: The Implications for Macroeconomics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(3), pages 463-83, August.
  27. Nalebuff, Barry, 1987. "Choose a Curtain, Duel-ity, Two Point Conversions, and More," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 157-63, Fall.
  28. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-55, December.
  29. Michael S. Haigh & John A. List, 2005. "Do Professional Traders Exhibit Myopic Loss Aversion? An Experimental Analysis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(1), pages 523-534, 02.
  30. Gode, Dhananjay K & Sunder, Shyam, 1993. "Allocative Efficiency of Markets with Zero-Intelligence Traders: Market as a Partial Substitute for Individual Rationality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 119-37, February.
  31. Lei, Vivian & Noussair, Charles N & Plott, Charles R, 2001. "Nonspeculative Bubbles in Experimental Asset Markets: Lack of Common Knowledge of Rationality vs. Actual Irrationality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 831-59, July.
  32. Leeat Yariv, 2004. "Safety in Markets: An Impossibility Theorem for Dutch Books," Theory workshop papers 658612000000000072, UCLA Department of Economics.
  33. David Genesove & Christopher Mayer, 2001. "Loss Aversion and Seller Behavior: Evidence from the Housing Market," NBER Working Papers 8143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Martin Dufwenberg & Tobias Lindqvist & Evan Moore, 2005. "Bubbles and Experience: An Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1731-1737, December.
  35. Friedman, Daniel, 1998. "Monty Hall's Three Doors: Construction and Deconstruction of a Choice Anomaly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 933-46, September.
  36. Russell, Thomas & Thaler, Richard, 1985. "The Relevance of Quasi Rationality in Competitive Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1071-82, December.
  37. Ganguly, Ananda R & Kagel, John H & Moser, Donald V, 2000. " Do Asset Market Prices Reflect Traders' Judgment Biases?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 219-45, May.
  38. Camerer, Colin, 1992. "The rationality of prices and volume in experimental markets," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 237-272, March.
  39. De Long, J. Bradford & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Waldmann, Robert J., 1990. "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," Scholarly Articles 3725552, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  40. Peter Bossaerts & Charles Plott & William R. Zame, 2006. "Prices and Portfolio Choices in Financial Markets: Theory and Experiment," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001322, UCLA Department of Economics.
  41. Camerer, Colin F, 1987. "Do Biases in Probability Judgment Matter in Markets? Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 981-97, December.
  42. Shleifer, Andrei, 2000. "Inefficient Markets: An Introduction to Behavioral Finance," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198292272, March.
  43. Smith, Vernon L & Suchanek, Gerry L & Williams, Arlington W, 1988. "Bubbles, Crashes, and Endogenous Expectations in Experimental Spot Asset Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1119-51, September.
  44. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "Can Small Deviations from Rationality Make Significant Differences to Economic Equilibria?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 708-20, September.
  45. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 1987. "Monopolistic Competition and the Effects of Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 647-66, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:19:y:2005:i:4:p:43-66. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)

or (Michael P. Albert)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.