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The Market: Catalyst for Rationality and Filter of Irrationality

Author

Listed:
  • List John A.

    () (University of Chicago and NBER)

  • Millimet Daniel L

    () (Southern Methodist University)

Abstract

Assumptions of individual rationality and preference stability provide the foundation for a convenient and tractable modeling approach. While both of these assumptions have come under scrutiny in distinct literatures, the two lines of research remain disjointed. This study begins by explicitly linking the two literatures while providing insights into whether market experience mitigates one specific form of individual rationalityconsistent preferences. Using field experimental data gathered from more than 800 experimental subjects, we find evidence that the market is a catalyst for this type of rationality. The study then focuses on aggregate market outcomes by examining empirically whether individual rationality of this sort is a prerequisite for market efficiency. Using a complementary field experiment, we gathered data from more than 380 subjects of age 6-18 in multi-lateral bargaining markets at a shopping mall. We find that our chosen market institution is a filter of irrationality: even when markets are populated solely by irrational buyers, aggregate market outcomes converge to the intersection of the supply and demand functions.

Suggested Citation

  • List John A. & Millimet Daniel L, 2008. "The Market: Catalyst for Rationality and Filter of Irrationality," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-55, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:8:y:2008:i:1:n:47
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till, 2016. "Are groups 'less behavioral'? The case of anchoring," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 188 [rev.], University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    2. John A. List, 2014. "Using Field Experiments to Change the Template of How We Teach Economics," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 81-89.
    3. V. Smith & Eric Moore, 2010. "Behavioral Economics and Benefit Cost Analysis," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, pages 217-234.
    4. Omar Al-Ubaydli & John A. List, 2016. "Field Experiments in Markets," NBER Working Papers 22113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Maja Adena & Steffen Huck & Imran Rasul, 2017. "Testing consumer theory: evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(2), pages 89-108, December.
    6. Jonathan E. Alevy & Craig E. Landry & John A. List, 2011. "Field Experiments on Anchoring of Economic Valuations," Working Papers 2011-02, University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Economics.
    7. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till & Bizer, Kilian, 2013. "Anchoring: A valid explanation for biased forecasts when rational predictions are easily accessible and well incentivized?," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 166, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    8. Costa-Gomes, Miguel A. & Huck, Steffen & Weizsäcker, Georg, 2014. "Beliefs and actions in the trust game: Creating instrumental variables to estimate the causal effect," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 298-309.
    9. repec:eee:jeborg:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:164-176 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Jonathan D. Ketcham & Claudio Lucarelli & Eugenio J. Miravete & M. Christopher Roebuck, 2012. "Sinking, Swimming, or Learning to Swim in Medicare Part D," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 2639-2673.
    11. repec:eee:wdevel:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:447-466 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Jetter, Michael & Walker, Jay K., 2016. "Anchoring in Financial Decision-Making: Evidence from the Field," IZA Discussion Papers 10151, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. John A. List, 2011. "Does Market Experience Eliminate Market Anomalies? The Case of Exogenous Market Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 313-317.
    14. Paul Pautler, 2015. "A Brief History of the FTC’s Bureau of Economics: Reports, Mergers, and Information Regulation," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 46(1), pages 59-94, February.
    15. Maria Porter, 2014. "For Love or Reward? Characterising Preferences for Giving to Parents in an Experimental Setting," Economics Series Working Papers 709, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    16. List, John & Millimet, Daniel, "undated". "Bounding the Impact of Market Experience on Rationality: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Imperfect Compliance," Departmental Working Papers 0505, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    17. Proeger, Till & Meub, Lukas, 2014. "Overconfidence as a social bias: Experimental evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 203-207.
    18. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till E., 2015. "Anchoring in social context," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 29-39.
    19. Honda, Hidehito & Ogawa, Midori & Murakoshi, Takuma & Masuda, Tomohiro & Utsumi, Ken & Park, Sora & Kimura, Atsushi & Nei, Daisuke & Wada, Yuji, 2015. "Effect of visual aids and individual differences of cognitive traits in judgments on food safety," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 33-40.
    20. Maria Porter & Abi Adams, 2014. "For love or reward? Characterising preference for giving to parents in an experimental setting," IFS Working Papers W14/13, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    21. Jeffrey Flory & Uri Gneezy & Kenneth Leonard & John List, 2012. "Sex, competitiveness, and investment in offspring: On the origin of preferences," Artefactual Field Experiments 00072, The Field Experiments Website.
    22. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till, 2014. "Are groups 'less behavioral'? The case of anchoring," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 188, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    23. Jonathan E. Alevy & Craig E. Landry & John A. List, 2015. "Field Experiments On The Anchoring Of Economic Valuations," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(3), pages 1522-1538, July.

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    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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