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Internal Rationality, Imperfect Market Knowledge and Asset Prices

Listed author(s):
  • 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
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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  10. Klaus Adam, 2003. "Learning and Equilibrium Selection in a Monetary Overlapping Generations Model with Sticky Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 887-907.
  11. Albert Marcet & Juan P. Nicolini, 2003. "Recurrent Hyperinflations and Learning," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1476-1498, December.
  12. Lubos PÁstor & Veronesi Pietro, 2003. "Stock Valuation and Learning about Profitability," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(5), pages 1749-1790, October.
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  14. George W. Evans & Seppo Honkapohja, 2003. "Adaptive learning and monetary policy design," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 1045-1084.
  15. Thomas J. Sargent, 2008. "Evolution and Intelligent Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 5-37, March.
  16. Chakraborty, Avik & Evans, George W., 2008. "Can perpetual learning explain the forward-premium puzzle?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 477-490, April.
  17. Hashem Pesaran & Davide Pettenuzzo & Allan Timmermann, 2007. "Learning, Structural Instability, and Present Value Calculations," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(2-4), pages 253-288.
  18. Martin L. Weitzman, 2007. "Subjective Expectations and Asset-Return Puzzles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1102-1130, September.
  19. Klaus Adam & Albert Marcet, 2010. "Booms and Busts in Asset Prices," IMES Discussion Paper Series 10-E-02, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
  20. Cogley, Timothy & Sargent, Thomas J., 2008. "The market price of risk and the equity premium: A legacy of the Great Depression?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 454-476, April.
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  23. Klaus Adam & Albert Marcet & Juan Pablo Nicolini, 2006. "Learning and Stock Market Volatility," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 15, Society for Computational Economics.
  24. Allan G. Timmermann, 1993. "How Learning in Financial Markets Generates Excess Volatility and Predictability in Stock Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(4), pages 1135-1145.
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  27. J. Michael Harrison & David M. Kreps, 1978. "Speculative Investor Behavior in a Stock Market with Heterogeneous Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(2), pages 323-336.
  28. Franklin Allen & Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2006. "Beauty Contests and Iterated Expectations in Asset Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 19(3), pages 719-752.
  29. Allan Timmermann, 1996. "Excess Volatility and Predictability of Stock Prices in Autoregressive Dividend Models with Learning," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(4), pages 523-557.
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