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Beauty contested: how much of Keynes' remains in behavioural economics' beauty contests?

  • Alessandro Lanteri
  • Anna Carabelli

In one of the most famous passages of the economic literature, John Maynard Keynes likens the stock market to a beauty contest (BC), in which the winners are those who anticipate the average opinion. In behavioural economics there have recently been attempts at investigating the BC experimentally. We argue that there exist important differences between Keynes' and behavioural economics' BCs. We identify several types of BCs and propose a taxonomy. We also suggest that, in spite of these differences, Keynes' theory of decision under uncertainty is central to understanding the actual behaviour observed in experimental BCs.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought.

Volume (Year): 18 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 269-285

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Handle: RePEc:taf:eujhet:v:18:y:2011:i:2:p:269-285
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  1. S. Berninghaus & W. Güth, 2007. "Experimental Economics," Chapters, in: Elgar Companion to Neo-Schumpeterian Economics, chapter 66 Edward Elgar.
  2. Rosemarie Nagel & Antoni Bosch-Domènech & Albert Satorra & José García Montalvo, 1999. "One, two, (three), infinity: Newspaper and lab beauty-contest experiments," Economics Working Papers 438, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  3. Güth, Werner & Kocher, Martin & Sutter, Matthias, 2001. "Experimental 'beauty contests' with homogeneous and heterogeneous players and with interior and boundary equilibria," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2001,45, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  4. Novarese, Marco & Lanteri, Alessandro, 2007. "Individual learning: theory formation, and feedback in a complex task," MPRA Paper 3049, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  6. Alessandro Lanteri & Marco Novarese, 2008. "The beauty of the contest: A novel approach to experimental beauty contests," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 3(52), pages 1-10.
  7. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2008:i:52:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Tirole, Jean, 1982. "On the Possibility of Speculation under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1163-81, September.
  9. Duffy, John & Nagel, Rosemarie, 1997. "On the Robustness of Behaviour in Experimental "Beauty Contest" Games," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1684-1700, November.
  10. Güth, Werner & Kocher, Martin G. & Sutter, Matthias, 2002. "Experimental 'beauty contests' with homogeneous and heterogeneous players and with interior and boundary equilibria," Munich Reprints in Economics 18165, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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