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How to shake the invisible hand (when Robinson meets Friday)


  • Antoine Billot


We propose to define the invisible hand by (i) modelling the mechanism itself (not to just assume its existence) and (ii) making explicit the limit conditions for its working. For that purpose, we simply assimilate the working of the invisible hand mechanism to the existence of a social preference such that individual and social optimalities are consistent. In introducing the possibility of interaction among individuals, we then suggest that the standard Robinson case or social atomicity is just a degenerate feature of a more general requirement that we call the Global Network Agreement. Our main result is that the invisible hand mechanism does keep on working when there is an interaction between Robinson and Friday if the former (resp. the latter) is sensitive to the latter (resp. the former) in such a way that they exhibit some agreement in preferences. Hence, the Robinson case naturally satisfies this property since nor Robinson neither Friday can disagree with himself. But more cooperative situations are also allowed in order to extent the invisible hand mechanism to cases with interactions.
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  • Antoine Billot, 2009. "How to shake the invisible hand (when Robinson meets Friday)," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 5(3), pages 257-270.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ijethy:v:5:y:2009:i:3:p:257-270

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2001. "Group Loyalty and the Taste for Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 500-528, June.
    2. Stephen Morris, "undated". "Interaction Games: A Unified Analysis of Incomplete Information, Local Interaction and Random Matching," Penn CARESS Working Papers 1879bf5487d743edef7f32bb2, Penn Economics Department.
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    5. Samet, Dov & Schmeidler, David, 2003. "Between liberalism and democracy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 213-233, June.
    6. Rothschild, Emma, 1994. "Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 319-322, May.
    7. Yannis Ioannides, 2006. "Topologies of social interactions," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 28(3), pages 559-584, August.
    8. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
    9. William A. Brock & Steven N. Durlauf, 2001. "Discrete Choice with Social Interactions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 235-260.
    10. Billot, Antoine & Walliser, Bernard, 1999. "Epistemic properties of knowledge hierarchies," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 185-205, October.
    11. Postlewaite, Andrew, 1998. "The social basis of interdependent preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 779-800, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anjan Mukherji, 2012. "The second fundamental theorem of positive economics," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 8(2), pages 125-138, June.
    2. repec:spr:grdene:v:20:y:2011:i:2:d:10.1007_s10726-009-9174-x is not listed on IDEAS

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