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Epidemics of rules, information aggregation failure and market crashes


  • Kartik Anand

    (ICTP - International Center for Theoretical Physics [Trieste])

  • Alan Kirman

    () (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales)

  • Matteo Marsili

    (ICTP - International Center for Theoretical Physics [Trieste])


This short paper argues that rationally motivated coordination between agents is an important ingredient to understand the current economic crisis. We argue that changes in parameters that model the structure of a macro-economy or financial markets are not exogenous but arise as agents adopt rules that appear to be the norm around them. For example, if a rule is adopted by the majority of ones' neighbors it will become acceptable or, alternatively, if agents learn that changing their rule leads to greater gains, they will modified their rules. However, as rules develop and spread they may have consequences at the aggregate level which are not anticipated by individuals. These rules may be adopted by implicit consensus as they turn out to be profitable for individuals, but they may also weaken the constraints imposed by regulators. Indeed, the emergence of new rules or the modification of old ones may render the whole system more fragile, which may then cease to function. To illustrate this we develop a simple model, motivated by the 2007-2008 crisis in credit derivatives markets, to show how coordination on simple and apparently profitable rules may cause a market to collapse.

Suggested Citation

  • Kartik Anand & Alan Kirman & Matteo Marsili, 2010. "Epidemics of rules, information aggregation failure and market crashes," Working Papers halshs-00545144, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00545144
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Iori, G. & Porter, J., 2012. "Agent-Based Modelling for Financial Markets," Working Papers 12/08, Department of Economics, City University London.
    2. Spiros Bougheas & Alan Kirman, 2014. "Complex Financial Networks and Systemic Risk: A Review," Discussion Papers 2014/04, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
    3. Stiglitz Joseph E., 2010. "Contagion, Liberalization, and the Optimal Structure of Globalization," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-47, December.
    4. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2011. "Rethinking Macroeconomics: What Failed, And How To Repair It," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 591-645, August.
    5. Alan Kirman, 2010. "The Economic Crisis is a Crisis for Economic Theory ," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 56(4), pages 498-535, December.
    6. Arinaminpathy, Nimalan & Kapadia, Sujit & May, Robert, 2012. "Size and complexity in model financial systems," Bank of England working papers 465, Bank of England.

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    Coordination; economic crisis; economic rules; information aggregation;

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