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Rational Frenzies and Crashes

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  • Bulow, Jeremy
  • Klemperer, Paul

Abstract

Most markets clear through a sequence of sales rather than through a Walrasian auctioneer. Because buyers can decide whether to buy now or later, rather than only now or never, their current 'willingness to pay' is much more sensitive to price than the demand curve is. A consequence is that markets will be extremely sensitive to new information, leading to both 'frenzies,' in which demand feeds on itself, and 'crashes,' in which price drops discontinuously. The paper also shows how a result from static auction theory, the revenue equivalence theorem, can be applied to solve for a dynamic price path. Copyright 1994 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Bulow, Jeremy & Klemperer, Paul, 1994. "Rational Frenzies and Crashes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 1-23, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:102:y:1994:i:1:p:1-23
    DOI: 10.1086/261919
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Roger B. Myerson, 1981. "Optimal Auction Design," Mathematics of Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 6(1), pages 58-73, February.
    2. Bulow, Jeremy & Roberts, John, 1989. "The Simple Economics of Optimal Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1060-1090, October.
    3. Jacklin, Charles J & Kleidon, Allan W & Pfleiderer, Paul, 1992. "Underestimation of Portfolio Insurance and the Crash of October 1987," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(1), pages 35-63.
    4. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1981. "A Theory of Monopoly Pricing Schemes with Demand Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 347-365, June.
    5. Myerson, Roger B. & Satterthwaite, Mark A., 1983. "Efficient mechanisms for bilateral trading," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 265-281, April.
    6. Gennotte, Gerard & Leland, Hayne, 1990. "Market Liquidity, Hedging, and Crashes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 999-1021, December.
    7. Riley, John G & Samuelson, William F, 1981. "Optimal Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 381-392, June.
    8. Cramton, Peter & Gibbons, Robert & Klemperer, Paul, 1987. "Dissolving a Partnership Efficiently," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 615-632, May.
    9. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
    10. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
    11. Welch, Ivo, 1992. "Sequential Sales, Learning, and Cascades," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 695-732, June.
    12. Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1994. "Business as Usual, Market Crashes, and Wisdom after the Fact," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 548-565, June.
    13. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817.
    14. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
    15. William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, March.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading

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