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Is the Market Really a Good Teacher? Market Selection, Collective Adaptation and Financial Instability

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  • Pascal Seppecher

    (CEPN, UMR CNRS 7234)

  • Isabelle Salle

    (CeNDEF, University of Amsterdam & Utrecht School of Economics, NL)

  • Dany Lang

    (CEPN, UMR CNRS 7234)

Abstract

This paper proposes to model market mechanisms as a collective learning process for firms in a complex adaptive system, namely Jamel, an agent-based, stock-flow consistent macroeconomic model. Inspired by Alchian’s (1950) "blanketing shotgun process" idea, our learning model is an ever-adapting process that puts a significant weight on exploration vis-à-vis exploitation. We show that decentralized market selection allows firms to collectively adapt their overall debt strategies to the changes in the macroeconomic environment so that the system sustains itself, but at the cost of recurrent deep downturns. We conclude that, in complex evolving economies, market processes do not lead to the selection of optimal behaviors, as the characterization of successful behaviors itself constantly evolves as a result of the market conditions that these behaviors contribute to shape. Heterogeneity in behavior remains essential to adaptation in such an ever-changing environment. We come to an evolutionary characterization of a crisis, as the point where the evolution of the macroeconomic system becomes faster than the adaptation capabilities of the agents that populate it, and the so far selected performing behaviors suddenly cease to be, and become instead undesirable.

Suggested Citation

  • Pascal Seppecher & Isabelle Salle & Dany Lang, 2016. "Is the Market Really a Good Teacher? Market Selection, Collective Adaptation and Financial Instability," GREDEG Working Papers 2016-15, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
  • Handle: RePEc:gre:wpaper:2016-15
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Pascal Seppecher & Isabelle L Salle & Marc Lavoie, 2018. "What drives markups? Evolutionary pricing in an agent-based stock-flow consistent macroeconomic model," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(6), pages 1045-1067.
    2. Ítalo Pedrosa & Dany Lang, 2018. "Heterogeneity, distribution and financial fragility of non-financial firms: an agent-based stock-flow consistent (AB-SFC) model," Working Papers hal-01937186, HAL.
    3. Salle, Isabelle & Seppecher, Pascal, 2018. "Stabilizing an unstable complex economy on the limitations of simple rules," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 289-317.
    4. Michalis Nikiforos & Gennaro Zezza, 2017. "Stock-flow Consistent Macroeconomic Models: A Survey," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_891, Levy Economics Institute.
    5. Isabelle Salle & Pascal Seppecher, 2017. "Stabilizing an Unstable Complex Economy," Working Papers hal-01527740, HAL.
    6. Giovanni Dosi & Andrea Roventini, 2019. "More is different ... and complex! the case for agent-based macroeconomics," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 1-37, March.
    7. Michalis Nikiforos & Gennaro Zezza, 2017. "Stock†Flow Consistent Macroeconomic Models: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(5), pages 1204-1239, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Evolutionary economics; Learning; Firms' adaptation; Business cycles;

    JEL classification:

    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Modern Monetary Theory;
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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