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Internal Rationality, Imperfect Market Knowledge and Asset Prices

  • Klaus Adam
  • Albert Marcet

We present a decision theoretic framework in which agents are learning about market behavior and that provides microfoundations for models of adaptive learning. Agents are 'internally rational', i.e., maximize discounted expected utility under uncertainty given dynamically consistent subjective beliefs about the future, but agents may not be 'externally rational', i.e., may not know the true stochastic process for payoff relevant variables beyond their control. This includes future market outcomes and fundamentals. We apply this approach to a simple asset pricing model and show that the equilibrium stock price is then determined by investors' expectations of the price and dividend in the next period, rather than by expectations of the discounted sum of dividends. As a result, learning about price behavior affects market outcomes, while learning about the discounted sum of dividends is irrelevant for equilibrium prices. Stock prices equal the discounted sum of dividends only after making very strong assumptions about agents' market knowledge.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1068.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1068
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  13. Marcet, A. & Nicolini, J.P., 1997. "Recurrent Hyperinflations and Learning," Papers 9721, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
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  26. Timmermann, Allan, 1996. "Excess Volatility and Predictability of Stock Prices in Autoregressive Dividend Models with Learning," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(4), pages 523-57, October.
  27. Klaus Adam & Albert Marcet & Juan Pablo Nicolini, 2006. "Learning and Stock Market Volatility," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 15, Society for Computational Economics.
  28. Timmermann, Allan G, 1993. "How Learning in Financial Markets Generates Excess Volatility and Predictability in Stock Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(4), pages 1135-45, November.
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