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Beauty contests under private information and diverse beliefs: how different?

  • Kurz, Mordecai
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    Abstract: The paper contrasts theories that explain diverse belief by asymmetric private information (in short PI) with theories which postulate agents use subjective heterogenous beliefs (in short HB). We focus on problems where agents forecast aggregates such as profit rate of the S&P500 and our model is similar to the one used in the literature on asset pricing (e.g. Brown and Jennings (1989), Grundy and McNichols (1989), Allen, Morris and Shin (2003)). We first argue there is no a-priori conceptual basis to assuming PI about economic aggregates. Since PI is not observed, models with PI offer no testable hypotheses, making it possible to prove anything with PI. In contrast, agents with HB reveal their forecasts hence data on market belief is used to test hypotheses of HB. We show the common knowledge assumptions of the PI theory are implausible. The theories differ on four main analytical issues. (1) The pricing theory under PI implies prices have infinite memory and at each t depend upon unobservable variables. In contrast, under HB prices have finite memory and depend only upon observable variables. (2) The “Beauty Contest” implications of the two are different. Under PI today’s price depends upon today’s market belief about tomorrow’s mean belief about “fundamental” variables. Under HB it depends upon today’s market belief about tomorrow’s market beliefs. Tomorrow’s beliefs are, in part, beliefs about future beliefs and are often mistaken. Market forecast mistakes are key to Beauty Contests, and are a central cause of market uncertainty called “endogenous uncertainty.” (3) Contrary to PI, theories with HB have wide empirical implications which are testable with available data. (4) PI theories assume unobserved data and hence do not restrict behavior, while rationality conditions impose restrictions on any HB theory. We explain the tight restrictions on the model’s parameters imposed by the theory of Rational Beliefs.

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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/233/1/MPRA_paper_233.pdf
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    Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 233.

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    Date of creation: 04 Aug 2006
    Date of revision: Apr 2006
    Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:233
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    1. Mordecai Kurz & Maurizio Motolese, 1999. "Endogenous Uncertainty and Market Volatility," Working Papers 1999.27, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    2. Swanson, Eric T., 2006. "Have Increases in Federal Reserve Transparency Improved Private Sector Interest Rate Forecasts?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(3), pages 791-819, April.
    3. Kurz, Mordecai & Wu, Ho-Mou, 1996. "Endogenous Uncertainty in a General Equilibrium Model with Price Contingent Contracts," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 8(3), pages 461-88, October.
    4. Carsten Krabbe Nielsen, 1995. "Rational Belief Structures and Rational Belief Equilibrium," Discussion Papers 95-14, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    5. Townsend, Robert M, 1978. "Market Anticipations, Rational Expectations, and Bayesian Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 19(2), pages 481-94, June.
    6. Townsend, Robert M, 1983. "Forecasting the Forecasts of Others," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 546-88, August.
    7. Batchelor, Roy & Dua, Pami, 1991. "Blue Chip Rationality Tests," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 23(4), pages 692-705, November.
    8. Mordecai Kurz & Hehui Jin & Maurizio Motolese, 2005. "Determinants of stock market volatility and risk premia," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 109-147, 07.
    9. Mordecai Kurz & Martin Schneider, 1996. "Coordination and correlation in Markov rational belief equilibria (*)," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 8(3), pages 489-520.
    10. Wang, Jiang, 1959- & He, Hua., 1994. "Differential information and dynamic behavior of stock trading volume," Working papers 3731-94., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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    15. Philippe Bacchetta & Eric van Wincoop, 2005. "Can Information Heterogeneity Explain the Exchange Rate Determination?," FAME Research Paper Series rp155, International Center for Financial Asset Management and Engineering.
    16. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
    17. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kahn, Charles M, 1980. "The Solution of Linear Difference Models under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1305-11, July.
    18. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
    19. Christian Hellwig, 2002. "Public Announcements, Adjustment Delays, and the Business Cycle (November 2002)," UCLA Economics Online Papers 208, UCLA Department of Economics.
    20. Maurizio Motolese, 2003. "Endogenous uncertainty and the non-neutrality of money," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 21(2), pages 317-345, 03.
    21. Wang, Jiang, 1994. "A Model of Competitive Stock Trading Volume," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 127-68, February.
    22. Maurizio Motolese, 2001. "Money non-neutrality in a Rational Belief Equilibrium with financial assets," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 18(1), pages 97-126.
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