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Default Penalty as a Selection Mechanism among 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: a society can assign default penalties on fiat money so that the economy selects one of the equilibria. Our data show that the choice of default penalty takes the economy close to 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Juergen Huber & Martin Shubik & Shyam Sunder, 2009. "Default Penalty as a Selection Mechanism among Multiple Equilibria," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1730R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Dec 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1730r
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    1. Frank Heinemann, 2012. "Understanding Financial Crises: The Contribution of Experimental Economics," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 107-108, pages 7-29.
    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.
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    8. Huber, J├╝rgen & Shubik, Martin & Sunder, Shyam, 2014. "Sufficiency of an outside bank and a default penalty to support the value of fiat money: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 317-337.
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    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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