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Safety in Markets: An Impossibility Theorem for Dutch Books

  • David Laibson
  • Leeat Yariv

This paper explores the extent to which markets constrain intertemporal preferences. First, we show that without transaction costs, agents are immune to exploitation in competitive markets. In particular, a sequence of trades leaving any market participant strictly worse off (termed a money losing Dutch book) is generically impossible. When transaction costs exist in the market, Dutch books are plausible only when agents have inaccurate beliefs about their own future behavior. Thus, markets are appropriate filters of non-standard (time-inconsistent) preferences only when sufficient irrational behavioral expectations are allowed. Second, we show that while non-standard preferences may be sustained in competitive markets, they are generically non-identifiable. Under mild conditions, any profile of demands can be explained with a standard, time-consistent, model. Nonetheless, we demonstrate that such a model will have weak predictive power across markets if non-standard preferences indeed prevail.

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Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 122247000000001746.

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Date of creation: 12 Dec 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:122247000000001746
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  1. Harris, Christopher J, 1985. "Existence and Characterization of Perfect Equilibrium in Games of Perfect Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 613-28, May.
  2. Aviad Heifetz & Chris Shannon & Yossi Spiegel, 2003. "What to Maximize If You Must," Game Theory and Information 0303002, EconWPA.
  3. Kubler, Felix, 2003. "Observable restrictions of general equilibrium models with financial markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 110(1), pages 137-153, May.
  4. Machina, Mark J, 1989. "Dynamic Consistency and Non-expected Utility Models of Choice under Uncertainty," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 1622-68, December.
  5. Larry Blume & David Easley, 2001. "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich? Belief Selection in Complete and Incomplete Markets," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1319, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 505-540.
  7. Ran Spiegler, 2005. "Competition over Agents with Boundedly Rational Expectations," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000535, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. David Laibson & Xavier Gabaix, 2004. "Competition and Consumer Confusion," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 663, Econometric Society.
  9. M.J. Todd & A. Fostel & H.E. Scarf, 2004. "Two New Proofs of Afriat's Theorem," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 632, Econometric Society.
  10. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 505-540.
  11. Alvaro Sandroni, 2000. "Do Markets Favor Agents Able to Make Accurate Predicitions?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(6), pages 1303-1342, November.
  12. Jerry Green, 1987. ""Making Book Against Oneself," the Independence Axiom, and Nonlinear Utility Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(4), pages 785-796.
  13. Debreu, Gerard, 1993. "Existence of competitive equilibrium," Handbook of Mathematical Economics, in: K. J. Arrow & M.D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Mathematical Economics, edition 4, volume 2, chapter 15, pages 697-743 Elsevier.
  14. Erzo G. J. Luttmer & Thomas Mariotti, 2003. "Subjective Discounting in an Exchange Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 959-989, October.
  15. Border, Kim C & Segal, Uzi, 1994. "Dutch Books and Conditional Probability," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(422), pages 71-75, January.
  16. Border, K.C. & Segal, U., 1997. "Coherent Odds and Subjective Probability," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9717, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  17. Blume, Lawrence & Easley, David, 1992. "Evolution and market behavior," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 9-40, October.
  18. Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2006. "Paying Not to Go to the Gym," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 694-719, June.
  19. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  20. Green, Jerry, 1987. ""Making book against oneself," the Independence Axiom, and Nonlinear Utility Theory," Scholarly Articles 3203640, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  21. Ariel Rubinstein & Ran Spiegler, 2008. "Money Pumps in the Market," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(1), pages 237-253, 03.
  22. Erzo Luttmer & Thomas Mariotti, 2006. "Competitive equilibrium when preferences change over time," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 679-690, 04.
  23. Cubitt, Robin P. & Sugden, Robert, 2001. "On Money Pumps," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 121-160, October.
  24. repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:2:p:443-77 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 2001. "Looking for evidence of time-inconsistent preferences in asset market data," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 13-24.
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