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Learning, Forecasting and Optimizing: an Experimental Study

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  • Bao, T.

    () (University of Amsterdam)

  • Duffy, J.

    (University of Pittsburgh)

  • Hommes, C.H.

    () (University of Amsterdam)

Abstract

Rational Expectations (RE) models have two crucial dimensions: 1) agents correctly forecast future prices given all available information, and 2) given expectations, agents solve optimization problems and these solutions in turn determine actual price realizations. Experimental testing of such models typically focuses on only one of these two dimensions. In this paper we consider both forecasting and optimization decisions in an experimental cobweb economy. We report results from four experimental treatments: 1) subjects form forecasts only, 2) subjects determine quantity only (solve an optimization problem), 3) they do both and 4) they are paired in teams and one member is assigned the forecasting role while the other is assigned the optimization task. All treatments converges to Rational Expectation Equilibrium (REE), but the at very different speed. We observe that performance is the best in treatment 1) and worst in the treatment 3). Most forecasters use an adaptive expectations rule. Subjects are less likely to make conditionally optimal production decision for given forecasts in treatment 3) where the forecast is made by themselves, than treatment 4) where the forecast is made by the other member of the team, which confirms ``two heads are better than one" in finding REE.

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  • Bao, T. & Duffy, J. & Hommes, C.H., 2011. "Learning, Forecasting and Optimizing: an Experimental Study," CeNDEF Working Papers 11-08, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Center for Nonlinear Dynamics in Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:ams:ndfwpp:11-08
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Pfajfar, Damjan & Žakelj, Blaž, 2015. "Inflation Expectations and Monetary Policy Design: Evidence from the Laboratory," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-45, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Wolfgang Luhan & Johann Scharler, 2013. "Monetary Policy, Inflation Illusion and the Taylor Principle: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 2013-03, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    7. Pfajfar, Damjan & Žakelj, Blaž, 2014. "Experimental evidence on inflation expectation formation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 147-168.
    8. Jasmina Arifovic & George Evans & Olena Kostyshyna, 2013. "Are Sunspots Learnable? An Experimental Investigation in a Simple General-Equilibrium Model," Staff Working Papers 13-14, Bank of Canada.
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    11. Simone Berardi & Gabriele Tedeschi, 2016. "How banks’ strategies influence financial cycles: An approach to identifying micro behavior," Working Papers 2016/24, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
    12. Tiziana Assenza & Te Bao & Cars Hommes & Domenico Massaro, 2014. "Experiments on Expectations in Macroeconomics and Finance," Research in Experimental Economics,in: Experiments in Macroeconomics, volume 17, pages 11-70 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
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    17. Bao, T. & Hommes, C.H. & Makarewicz, T.A., 2014. "Bubble Formation and (In)efficient Markets in Learning-to-Forecast and -Optimize Experiments," CeNDEF Working Papers 14-01, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Center for Nonlinear Dynamics in Economics and Finance.
    18. Cimadomo, Jacopo & Claeys, Peter & Poplawski-Ribeiro, Marcos, 2016. "How do experts forecast sovereign spreads?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 216-235.
    19. 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.
    20. Nobuyuki Hanaki & Eizo Akiyama & Ryuichiro Ishikawa, 2016. "A Methodological Note on Eliciting Price Forecasts in Asset Market Experiments," GREDEG Working Papers 2016-02, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    21. 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.
    22. Arifovic, J. & Hommes, C.H. & Salle, I., 2016. "Learning to believe in Simple Equilibria in a Complex OLG Economy - evidence from the lab," CeNDEF Working Papers 16-06, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Center for Nonlinear Dynamics in Economics and Finance.
    23. Bao, T. & Duffy, J., 2014. "Adaptive vs. eductive learning," Research Report 14002-EEF, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations

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