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Beauty Contested. How much of Keynes’ remains in Behavioural Economics Beauty Contests?

  • Alessandro Lanteri

    ()

  • Anna Carabelli

    ()

In one of the most famous passages of economic literature, John Maynard Keynes (1936, p.156) likens the stock market to a beauty contest in which the winners are those who anticipate the average opinion. Recently there have been attempts at investigating the BC experimentally (Nagel 1995, Duffy & Nagel 1997, Ho et al. 1998, Bosch-Domenech et al. 2002, Güth et al. 2002). In Experimental Beauty Contests, participants choose a real number from a closed interval, e.g. I [0,100]. Whoever picks the number closest to p times the average (usuallywith p = 2/3) is the winner of a monetary reward. An experiment like this is dominance solvable: the process of iterated elimination of dominated strategies leads to the unique and stable equilibrium at which every player chooses zero, and every player wins. Keynes’ metaphor, on the other hand, referred to a situation in which not all participants can win, so that the goal of individual investors and speculators must be “to outwit the crowd” (p. 152). Despite the differences, the Keynesian theory of decision under uncertainty tallies with the behaviour observed in Experimental Beauty Contests.

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Paper provided by ICER - International Centre for Economic Research in its series ICER Working Papers with number 20-2008.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:icr:wpicer:20-2008
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  1. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2008:i:52:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Alessandro Lanteri & Marco Novarese, 2008. "The beauty of the contest: A novel approach to experimental beauty contests," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 3(52), pages 1-10.
  3. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  4. Antoni Bosch-Dom�nech & Jos� G. Montalvo & Rosemarie Nagel & Albert Satorra, 2002. "One, Two, (Three), Infinity, ...: Newspaper and Lab Beauty-Contest Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1687-1701, December.
  5. Novarese, Marco & Lanteri, Alessandro, 2007. "Individual learning: theory formation, and feedback in a complex task," MPRA Paper 3049, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Tirole, Jean, 1982. "On the Possibility of Speculation under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1163-81, September.
  7. Guth, Werner & Kocher, Martin & Sutter, Matthias, 2002. "Experimental 'beauty contests' with homogeneous and heterogeneous players and with interior and boundary equilibria," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 219-228, January.
  8. Duffy, John & Nagel, Rosemarie, 1997. "On the Robustness of Behaviour in Experimental "Beauty Contest" Games," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1684-1700, November.
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