The Weak Axiom and Comparative Statics
This paper examines conditions which guarantee that the excess demand function of an exchange economy will satisfy the weak axiom in an open neighborhood of a given equilibrium price. This property ensures that the equilibrium is locally stable with respect to Walras' tatonnement. A related issue is the possibility of local comparative statics; in particular, the paper examines conditions which guarantee that when an economy's endowment is perturbed, the equilibrium price will move in a direction opposite to that of the perturbation. A distinguishing feature of this paper's approach is the heavy use of the indirect utility function, though we also provide results that allow for the translation of conditions imposed on indirect utility functions to conditions imposed on direct utility functions. Indeed we apply this to the special case of exchange economies where all agents have directly additive utilities - essentially a complete markets finance model with agents having von Neumann-Morgenstern utility functions. We show that the structural properties of demand near an equilibrium price depend on variations in the coefficient of relative risk aversion.
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