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Indivisibilities, lotteries, and sunspot equilibria

  • Karl Shell
  • Randall Wright

We analyze economies with indivisible commodities. There are two reasons for doing so. First, we extend and provide new insights into sunspot equilibrium theory. Finite competitive economies with perfect markets and convex consumption sets do not allow sunspot equilibria; these same economies with nonconvex consumption sets do, and they have several properties that can never arise in convex environments. Second, we provide a reinterpretation of the employment lotteries used in contract theory and in macroeconomic models with indivisible labor. We show how socially optimal employment lotteries can be decentralized as competitive equilibria once sunspots are introduced.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 133.

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Date of creation: 1991
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:133
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  1. Hansen, Gary D., 1985. "Indivisible labor and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-327, November.
  2. Cass, D. & Polemarchakis, H. M., 1990. "Convexity and sunspots: A remark," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 433-439, December.
  3. Peck, James & Shell, Karl, 1991. "Market Uncertainty: Correlated and Sunspot Equilibria in Imperfectly Competitive Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(5), pages 1011-29, October.
  4. Gary D. Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 1987. "Straight Time and Overtime in Equilibrium," UCLA Economics Working Papers 455, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Prescott, Edward C & Townsend, Robert M, 1984. "Pareto Optima and Competitive Equilibria with Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 21-45, January.
  6. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Staff Report 102, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Prescott, Edward C & Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1972. "A Note on Price Systems in Infinite Dimensional Space," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(2), pages 416-22, June.
  8. Bewley, Truman F., 1972. "Existence of equilibria in economies with infinitely many commodities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 514-540, June.
  9. Crawford, V. P. & Heller, W. P., 1979. "Fair division with indivisible commodities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 10-27, August.
  10. Rogerson, Richard & Wright, Randall, 1988. "Involuntary unemployment in economies with efficient risk sharing," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 501-515.
  11. Rogerson, Richard, 1988. "Indivisible labor, lotteries and equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 3-16, January.
  12. Mas-Colell, Andreu, 1977. "Indivisible commodities and general equilibrium theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 443-456, December.
  13. Baily, Martin Neil, 1974. "Wages and Employment under Uncertain Demand," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 37-50, January.
  14. Hylland, Aanund & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1979. "The Efficient Allocation of Individuals to Positions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(2), pages 293-314, April.
  15. Martine Quinzii, 1982. "Core and Competitive Equilibria with Indivisibilities," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 644, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  16. Jeremy Greenwood & Gregory W. Huffman, 1988. "On Modelling the Natural Rate of Unemployment with Indivisible Labour," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 21(3), pages 587-609, August.
  17. Cass, David & Shell, Karl, 1983. "Do Sunspots Matter?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 193-227, April.
  18. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
  19. Shapley, Lloyd & Scarf, Herbert, 1974. "On cores and indivisibility," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 23-37, March.
  20. Azariadis, Costas, 1981. "Self-fulfilling prophecies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 380-396, December.
  21. Greenwood, Jeremy & Huffman, Gregory W., 1987. "A dynamic equilibrium model of inflation and unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 203-228, March.
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