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Simple Agents, Intelligent Markets

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Attainment of rational expectations equilibria in asset markets calls for the price system to disseminate agents’ private information to others. Markets populated by human agents are known to be capable of converging to rational expectations equilibria. This paper reports comparable market outcomes when human agents are replaced by boundedly-rational algorithmic agents who use a simple means-end heuristic. These algorithmic agents lack the capability to optimize; yet outcomes of markets populated by them converge near the equilibrium derived from optimization assumptions. These findings point to market structure (rather than cognition or optimization) being an important determinant of efficient aggregate level outcomes.

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File URL: http://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d18/d1868-r.pdf
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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1868R.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision: Mar 2015
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1868r
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Web page: http://cowles.yale.edu/

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Order Information: Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

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  1. Herbert A. Simon, 1955. "A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 99-118.
  2. John A. Carlson & Terrence B. O'Keefe, 1969. "Buffer Stocks and Reaction Coefficients: An Experiment with Decision Making under Risk," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(4), pages 467-484.
  3. 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.
  4. Martin Angerer & Juergen Huber & Martin Shubik & Shyam Sunder, 2010. "An economy with personal currency: theory and experimental evidence," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 475-509, October.
  5. Plott, Charles R & Sunder, Shyam, 1982. "Efficiency of Experimental Security Markets with Insider Information: An Application of Rational-Expectations Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 663-698, August.
  6. Plott, Charles R & Sunder, Shyam, 1988. "Rational Expectations and the Aggregation of Diverse Information in Laboratory Security Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1085-1118, September.
  7. Forsythe, Robert & Palfrey, Thomas R & Plott, Charles R, 1982. "Asset Valuation in an Experimental Market," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 537-567, May.
  8. Gode, Dhananjay K & Sunder, Shyam, 1993. "Allocative Efficiency of Markets with Zero-Intelligence Traders: Market as a Partial Substitute for Individual Rationality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 119-137, February.
  9. Dhananjay K. Gode & Shyam Sunder, 1997. "What Makes Markets Allocationally Efficient?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 603-630.
  10. Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "The Psychology and Economics Conference Handbook: Comments," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 279-284, October.
  11. Forsythe, Robert & Lundholm, Russell, 1990. "Information Aggregation in an Experimental Market," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(2), pages 309-347, March.
  12. Vernon L. Smith, 1962. "An Experimental Study of Competitive Market Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 111-111.
  13. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1986. "Rational Choice and the Framing of Decisions," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 251-278, October.
  14. Jamal, Karim & Sunder, Shyam, 1996. "Bayesian equilibrium in double auctions populated by biased heuristic traders," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 273-291, November.
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