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The market: Catalyst for rationality and filter of irrationality

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  • John List
  • Daniel Millimet

Abstract

Assumptions of individual rationality and preference stability provide the foundation for a convenient and tractable modeling approach. While both of these assumptions have come under scrutiny in distinct literatures, the two lines of research remain disjointed. This study begins by explicitly linking the two literatures while providing insights into perhaps the central issue facing behavioral economics today: to what extent does market experience mitigate various forms of individual irrationality? We find considerable evidence that the market is a catalyst for rationality. The study then focuses on aggregate market outcomes by examining empirically whether individual rationality is a prerequisite for market efficiency. Using field data gathered from more than 380 subjects of age 6-18 in multi-lateral bargaining markets at a shopping mall, we find that the market is a filter of irrationality--even when markets are populated solely by irrational buyers, aggregate market outcomes quickly converge to neoclassical predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • John List & Daniel Millimet, 2008. "The market: Catalyst for rationality and filter of irrationality," Framed Field Experiments 00179, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:framed:00179
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. List, John & Millimet, Daniel, "undated". "Bounding the Impact of Market Experience on Rationality: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Imperfect Compliance," Departmental Working Papers 0505, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    2. repec:eee:jeborg:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:164-176 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Jonathan D. Ketcham & Claudio Lucarelli & Eugenio J. Miravete & M. Christopher Roebuck, 2012. "Sinking, Swimming, or Learning to Swim in Medicare Part D," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 2639-2673.
    4. Proeger, Till & Meub, Lukas, 2014. "Overconfidence as a social bias: Experimental evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 203-207.
    5. repec:eee:wdevel:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:447-466 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till, 2016. "Are groups 'less behavioral'? The case of anchoring," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 188 [rev.], University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    7. John A. List, 2014. "Using Field Experiments to Change the Template of How We Teach Economics," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(2), pages 81-89, June.
    8. V. Smith & Eric Moore, 2010. "Behavioral Economics and Benefit Cost Analysis," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(2), pages 217-234, June.
    9. repec:spr:jesaex:v:3:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s40881-017-0040-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Costa-Gomes, Miguel A. & Huck, Steffen & Weizsäcker, Georg, 2014. "Beliefs and actions in the trust game: Creating instrumental variables to estimate the causal effect," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 298-309.
    11. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till E., 2015. "Anchoring in social context," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 29-39.
    12. Omar Al-Ubaydli & John A. List, 2016. "Field Experiments in Markets," NBER Working Papers 22113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Honda, Hidehito & Ogawa, Midori & Murakoshi, Takuma & Masuda, Tomohiro & Utsumi, Ken & Park, Sora & Kimura, Atsushi & Nei, Daisuke & Wada, Yuji, 2015. "Effect of visual aids and individual differences of cognitive traits in judgments on food safety," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 33-40.
    14. Jetter, Michael & Walker, Jay K., 2016. "Anchoring in Financial Decision-Making: Evidence from the Field," IZA Discussion Papers 10151, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. John A. List, 2011. "Does Market Experience Eliminate Market Anomalies? The Case of Exogenous Market Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 313-317, May.
    16. Maja Adena & Steffen Huck & Imran Rasul, 2017. "Testing consumer theory: evidence from a natural field experiment," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(2), pages 89-108, December.
    17. Maria Porter & Abi Adams, 2014. "For love or reward? Characterising preference for giving to parents in an experimental setting," IFS Working Papers W14/13, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    18. Paul Pautler, 2015. "A Brief History of the FTC’s Bureau of Economics: Reports, Mergers, and Information Regulation," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 46(1), pages 59-94, February.
    19. Jonathan E. Alevy & Craig E. Landry & John A. List, 2011. "Field Experiments on Anchoring of Economic Valuations," Working Papers 2011-02, University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Economics.
    20. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till & Bizer, Kilian, 2013. "Anchoring: A valid explanation for biased forecasts when rational predictions are easily accessible and well incentivized?," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 166, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    21. Jeffrey Flory & Uri Gneezy & Kenneth Leonard & John List, 2012. "Sex, competitiveness, and investment in offspring: On the origin of preferences," Artefactual Field Experiments 00072, The Field Experiments Website.
    22. Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till, 2014. "Are groups 'less behavioral'? The case of anchoring," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 188, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    23. Maria Porter, 2014. "For Love or Reward? Characterising Preferences for Giving to Parents in an Experimental Setting," Economics Series Working Papers 709, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    24. Jonathan E. Alevy & Craig E. Landry & John A. List, 2015. "Field Experiments On The Anchoring Of Economic Valuations," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(3), pages 1522-1538, July.

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    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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