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Strategic Consumption Complementarities: Can Price Flexibility Eliminate Inefficiencies and Instability?




Generally, two facts occur with strategic complementarities and fixed prices: (i) the equilibria are multiple and (ii) if the complementarities are strong, the law of demand is violated and the equilibrium is unstable. In this paper, we analyse the effect of price flexibility on these features as well as on market welfare properties. Assuming an exchange economy with H agents consuming two goods with one strategic complement, we show that flexibility of prices may remove both the multiplicity of the equilibria and the instability of behavior when the externalities are strong. Moreover, we find conditions to correct instability when it is caused by perverse wealth effects. When preferences are quasilinear and identical, if the externality is beneficial, any equilibrium is Pareto optimal despite the externality. But if the externality is detrimental, corrections are required. Copyright © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc..

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  • Emanuela Randon & Peter Simmons, 2010. "Strategic Consumption Complementarities: Can Price Flexibility Eliminate Inefficiencies and Instability?," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(2), pages 249-279, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:12:y:2010:i:2:p:249-279

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
    2. Russell Cooper & Andrew John, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-463.
    3. Cheung, Yin-Wong & Friedman, Daniel, 1997. "Individual Learning in Normal Form Games: Some Laboratory Results," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 46-76, April.
    4. Peter A. Diamond & James A. Mirrlees, 1973. "Aggregate Production with Consumption Externalities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(1), pages 1-24.
    5. Cornes, Richard & Homma, Masaaki, 1979. "Consumption externalities and stability," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 301-306.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D50 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - General


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