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The Power of Sunspots: an Experimental Analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Fehr, Dietmar

    (University of Heidelberg)

  • Heinemann, Frank

    (Technical University of Berlin)

  • Llorente-Saguer, Aniol

    (Queen Mary University of London and CEPR)

Abstract

This paper presents an experiment on a coordination game with extrinsic random signals, in which we systematically vary the stochastic process generating these signals and measure how signals affect behavior. We find that sunspot equilibria emerge naturally if there are salient public signals. However, highly correlated private signals can also lead to sunspot-driven behavior, even when this is not an equilibrium. Private signals reduce the power of public signals as sunspot variables. The higher the correlation of extrinsic signals and the more easily they can be aggregated, the more powerful these signals are in distracting actions from the action that minimizes strategic uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Fehr, Dietmar & Heinemann, Frank & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol, 2017. "The Power of Sunspots: an Experimental Analysis," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 11, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
  • Handle: RePEc:rco:dpaper:11
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    8. Jasmina Arifovic & Janet Hua Jiang, 2014. "Do Sunspots Matter? Evidence from an Experimental Study of Bank Runs," Staff Working Papers 14-12, Bank of Canada.
    9. Schmidt, Robert J., 2019. "Capitalizing on the (false) consensus effect: Two tractable methods to elicit private information," Working Papers 0669, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    10. Ulrich Horst & Michael Kupper & Andrea Macrina & Christoph Mainberger, 2011. "Continuous Equilibrium under Base Preferences and Attainable Initial Endowments," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2011-082, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    11. Arifovic, Jasmina & Jiang, Janet Hua, 2019. "Strategic uncertainty and the power of extrinsic signals– evidence from an experimental study of bank runs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 1-17.
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    14. Wang, Hanjie & Feil, Jan-Henning & Yu, Xiaohua, 2021. "Disagreement on sunspots and soybeans futures price," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 385-393.
    15. Arifovic, Jasmina & Evans, George W. & Kostyshyna, Olena, 2020. "Are sunspots learnable? An experimental investigation in a simple macroeconomic model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 110(C).
    16. Jasmina Arifovic & George Evans & Olena Kostyshyna, 2013. "Are Sunspots Learnable? An Experimental Investigation in a Simple General-Equilibrium Model," Staff Working Papers 13-14, Bank of Canada.
    17. Alena MyÅ¡iÄ ková & Song Song & Piotr Majer & Peter N.C. Mohr & Hauke R. Heekeren & Wolfgang K. Härdle, 2011. "Risk Patterns and Correlated Brain Activities. Multidimensional statistical analysis of fMRI data with application to risk patterns," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2011-085, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    18. Isabel Trevino, 2020. "Informational Channels of Financial Contagion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(1), pages 297-335, January.
    19. Bizer, Kilian & Meub, Lukas & Proeger, Till & Spiwoks, Markus, 2014. "Strategic coordination in forecasting: An experimental study," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 195, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Coordination games; strategic uncertainty; sunspot equilibria; forward guidance; expectations;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • E39 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Other
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies

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