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Indivisibilities, Lotteries, and Sunspot Equilibria

  • Shell, Karl
  • Wright, Randall

We analyze economies with indivisible commodities. There are two reasons for doing so. First, we extend and provide some new insights into sunspot equilibrium theory. Finite competitive economies with perfect markets and convex consumption sets do not allow sunspot equilibria; these same economies with nonconvex consumption sets do, and they have several properties that can never arise in convex environments. Second, we provide a reinterpretation of the employment lotteries used in contract theory and in macroeconomic models with indivisible labor. We show how socially optimal employment lotteries can be decentralized as competitive equilibria without lotteries once sunspots are introduced.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 3 (1993)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 1-17

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Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:3:y:1993:i:1:p:1-17
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  1. Baily, Martin Neil, 1974. "Wages and Employment under Uncertain Demand," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 37-50, January.
  2. Prescott, Edward C & Townsend, Robert M, 1984. "Pareto Optima and Competitive Equilibria with Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 21-45, January.
  3. Gary D. Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 1987. "Straight Time and Overtime in Equilibrium," UCLA Economics Working Papers 455, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Shapley, Lloyd & Scarf, Herbert, 1974. "On cores and indivisibility," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 23-37, March.
  5. Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Indivisible labor, lotteries and equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 3-16, January.
  6. Martine Quinzii, 1982. "Core and Competitive Equilibria with Indivisibilities," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 644, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Azariadis, Costas, 1981. "Self-fulfilling prophecies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 380-396, December.
  8. Crawford, V. P. & Heller, W. P., 1979. "Fair division with indivisible commodities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 10-27, August.
  9. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  10. Jeremy Greenwood & Gregory W. Huffman, 1988. "On Modelling the Natural Rate of Unemployment with Indivisible Labour," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 21(3), pages 587-609, August.
  11. Prescott, Edward C & Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1972. "A Note on Price Systems in Infinite Dimensional Space," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(2), pages 416-22, June.
  12. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 9-22.
  13. Rogerson, Richard & Wright, Randall, 1988. "Involuntary unemployment in economies with efficient risk sharing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 501-515.
  14. Cass, D. & Polemarchakis, H. M., 1990. "Convexity and sunspots: A remark," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 433-439, December.
  15. Mas-Colell, Andreu, 1977. "Indivisible commodities and general equilibrium theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 443-456, December.
  16. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
  17. Greenwood, Jeremy & Huffman, Gregory W., 1987. "A dynamic equilibrium model of inflation and unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 203-228, March.
  18. Peck, James & Shell, Karl, 1991. "Market Uncertainty: Correlated and Sunspot Equilibria in Imperfectly Competitive Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(5), pages 1011-29, October.
  19. Bewley, Truman F., 1972. "Existence of equilibria in economies with infinitely many commodities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 514-540, June.
  20. Hylland, Aanund & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1979. "The Efficient Allocation of Individuals to Positions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 293-314, April.
  21. Cass, David & Shell, Karl, 1983. "Do Sunspots Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 193-227, April.
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