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An experimental study of decisions in dynamic optimization problems

Author

Listed:
  • Kenneth Matheny

    () (Macroeconomic Advisers LLC., St Louis, MO 63105, USA)

  • Charles Noussair

    () (Department of Economics, Krannert School of Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA)

Abstract

We study decisions of subjects who are given an incentive to solve dynamic optimization problems with the structure of a single-agent, one-sector, closed economy macroeconomic model. The decision task involves a sequence of choices of consumption and investment levels. Treatment variables consist of the initial endowment of capital stock, the production technology available to the economy, and the method of creating the structure of an infinite-horizon model. The study includes and contrasts data from both American and Japanese participants. We find that whether over- or underinvestment relative to the optimum occurs depends on the production technology, but not on the initial endowment of capital stock, nor the subject pool used, nor the method of implementing the infinite horizon. Sudden episodes of maximal consumption called binges, which are always suboptimal, are widely observed.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth Matheny & Charles Noussair, 2000. "An experimental study of decisions in dynamic optimization problems," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 15(2), pages 389-419.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:15:y:2000:i:2:p:389-419
    Note: Received: December 7, 1998; revised version: March 12, 1999
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Uri Benzion & Amnon Rapoport & Joseph Yagil, 1989. "Discount Rates Inferred from Decisions: An Experimental Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(3), pages 270-284, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cellarier, Laurent L., 2008. "Least squares learning and business cycles," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(3-4), pages 553-564, December.
    2. Ferruccio Ponzano & Roberto Ricciuti, 2012. "An Experimental AK Model of Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 3744, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. C.Mónica Capra & Tomomi Tanaka & ColinF. Camerer & Lauren Feiler & Veronica Sovero & CharlesN. Noussair, 2009. "The Impact of Simple Institutions in Experimental Economies with Poverty Traps," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(539), pages 977-1009, July.
    4. Vivian Lei & Charles N. Noussair, 2007. "Equilibrium Selection in an Experimental Macroeconomy," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 448-482, October.
    5. Vivian Lei & Charles N. Noussair, 2002. "An Experimental Test of an Optimal Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 549-570, June.
    6. Robinson, W.T. & Min, S., 1998. "Is the First to Market the First to fail?: Empirical Evidence for Manufacturing Business," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1115, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
    7. Luhan, Wolfgang J. & Scharler, Johann, 2013. "Monetary Policy, Inflation Illusion and the Taylor Principle – An Experimental Study," Ruhr Economic Papers 402, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    8. repec:eee:jeborg:v:140:y:2017:i:c:p:91-119 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Gelder, Alan & Kovenock, Dan, 2017. "Dynamic behavior and player types in majoritarian multi-battle contests," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 444-455.
    10. Ricciuti, Roberto, 2008. "Bringing macroeconomics into the lab," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 216-237, March.
    11. Marco Battaglini & Salvatore Nunnari & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2016. "The Dynamic Free Rider Problem: A Laboratory Study," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 268-308, November.
    12. repec:pit:wpaper:334 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Marco Battaglini & Salvatore Nunnari & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2016. "The Political Economy of Public Debt: A Laboratory Study," NBER Working Papers 22406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Tasneem, Dina & Engle-Warnick, Jim & Benchekroun, Hassan, 2017. "An experimental study of a common property renewable resource game in continuous time," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 91-119.
    15. repec:zbw:rwirep:0402 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Thomas Meissner, 2016. "Intertemporal consumption and debt aversion: an experimental study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(2), pages 281-298, June.
    17. Luhan, Wolfgang J. & Scharler, Johann, 2014. "Inflation illusion and the Taylor principle: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 94-110.
    18. Dawid, Herbert & Day, Richard H., 2007. "On sustainable growth and collapse: Optimal and adaptive paths," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 2374-2397, July.
    19. repec:pit:wpaper:504 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Orland, Andreas & Roos, Michael W.M., 2013. "The New Keynesian Phillips curve with myopic agents," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 2270-2286.
    21. Geiger, Martin & Luhan, Wolfgang J. & Scharler, Johann, 2016. "When do fiscal consolidations lead to consumption booms? Lessons from a laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 1-20.
    22. Agranov, Marina & Fréchette, Guillaume & Palfrey, Thomas & Vespa, Emanuel, 2016. "Static and dynamic underinvestment: An experimental investigation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 125-141.
    23. Wolfgang J. Luhan & Johann Scharler, 2013. "Monetary Policy, Inflation Illusion and the Taylor Principle – An Experimental Study," Ruhr Economic Papers 0402, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Dynamic optimization; Consumption; Investment; Experiment.;

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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