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Comparing the Robustness of Trading Systems to Higher-Order Uncertainty

Listed author(s):
  • Hyun Song Shin

This paper compares the performance of a decentralized market with that of a dealership market when traders have differential information. Trade occurs as a result of equilibrium actions in a Bayesian game, where uncertainty is captured by a finite state space and information is represented by partitions on this space. In the benchmark case of trade with common knowledge of endowments, the two mechanisms deliver virtually identical outcomes. However, with differential information, the dealership market has strictly higher trading volume, and yields an efficient post-trade allocation in most states. In contrast, the decentralized market suffers from suboptimal trading volume. The reason for this poor performance is the vulnerability of the decentralized market to higher-order uncertainty concerning the fundamentals of the market. Traders may know that mutually beneficial trade is feasible, and perhaps know that they know, and yet a failure of common knowledge that this is so precludes efficient trade. The dealership market is robust to this type of uncertainty.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 63 (1996)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 39-59

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:63:y:1996:i:1:p:39-59.
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