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Default Penalty as a Disciplinary and Selection Mechanism in Presence of Multiple Equilibria

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Abstract

Closed exchange and production-and-exchange economies may have multiple equilibria, a fact that is usually ignored in macroeconomic models. Our basic argument is that default and bankruptcy laws are required to prevent strategic default, and these laws can also serve to provide the conditions for uniqueness. In this paper we report experimental evidence on the effectiveness of this approach to resolving multiplicity: society can assign default penalties on fiat money so the economy selects one of the equilibria. Our data show that the choice of default penalty takes the economy to the neighborhood of the chosen equilibrium. The theory and evidence together reinforce the idea that accounting, bankruptcy and possibly other aspects of social mechanisms play an important role in resolving the otherwise mathematically intractable challenges associated with multiplicity of equilibria in closed economies. Additionally we discuss the meaning and experimental implications of default penalties that support an active bankruptcy-modified competitive equilibrium.

Suggested Citation

  • Juergen Huber & Martin Shubik & Shyam Sunder, 2009. "Default Penalty as a Disciplinary and Selection Mechanism in Presence of Multiple Equilibria," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1730, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1730
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    4. Eric Smith & Martin Shubik, 2005. "Strategic freedom, constraint, and symmetry in one-period markets with cash and credit payment," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 25(3), pages 513-551, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ken-Ichi Shimomura & Takehiko Yamato, 2011. "Impact of Ethnicities on Market Outcome: Results of Market Experiments in Kenya," Discussion Paper Series DP2011-10, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
    2. Huber, Juergen & Shubik, Martin & Sunder, Shyam, 2010. "Three minimal market institutions with human and algorithmic agents: Theory and experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 403-424, November.
    3. Dmitry Levando, 2012. "A Survey Of Strategic Market Games," Economic Annals, Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade, vol. 57(194), pages 63-106, July - Se.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bankruptcy penalty; Financial institutions; Fiat money; Multiple equilibria; Experimental gaming;

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D51 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Exchange and Production Economies
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation

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