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Internal Rationality and Asset Prices

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  • Adam, Klaus
  • Marcet, Albert

Abstract

We present a decision theoretic framework with agents that are learning about the behavior of market determined variables. Agents are 'internally rational', i.e., maximize discounted expected utility under uncertainty given consistent beliefs about the future, but may not be 'externally rational', i.e., may not know the true stochastic process for market determined variables (asset prices) and fundamentals (dividends). We apply this approach to a simple asset pricing model with heterogeneity and incomplete markets. We show how knowledge about dividends and optimal behavior alone fail to fully inform agents about equilibrium prices, so that learning about price behavior, as in Adam, Marcet and Nicolini (2008), is fully consistent with internal rationality. We also show that equilibrium prices depend on expectations of the discounted price and dividend in the next period only, rather than on the expected discounted sum of future dividends. Discounted sums emerge only after making very strong assumptions about agents' knowledge and prove extremely sensitive to the details about agents' prior beliefs about the dividend process.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam, Klaus & Marcet, Albert, 2009. "Internal Rationality and Asset Prices," CEPR Discussion Papers 7498, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7498
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Molnár, Krisztina & Santoro, Sergio, 2014. "Optimal monetary policy when agents are learning," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 39-62.
    2. Athanasios Orphanides & John Williams, 2004. "Imperfect Knowledge, Inflation Expectations, and Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters,in: The Inflation-Targeting Debate, pages 201-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Bruce Preston, 2005. "Learning about Monetary Policy Rules when Long-Horizon Expectations Matter," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 1(2), September.
    4. Stefano Eusepi & Bruce Preston, 2011. "Expectations, Learning, and Business Cycle Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2844-2872, October.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Adam, Klaus, 2005. "Learning To Forecast And Cyclical Behavior Of Output And Inflation," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(01), pages 1-27, February.
    8. Klaus Adam & Albert Marcet & Juan Pablo Nicolini, 2006. "Learning and Stock Market Volatility," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 15, Society for Computational Economics.
    9. Geweke, John, 2001. "A note on some limitations of CRRA utility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 341-345, June.
    10. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Hommes, Cars & Zhu, Mei, 2014. "Behavioral learning equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 778-814.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    learning; rationality;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading

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