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As if or What? – Expectations and Optimization in a Simple Macroeconomic Environment

  • Michael W.M. Roos

    ()

  • Wolfgang J. Luhan

In this paper we report the results of a laboratory experiment, in which we observed the behavior of agents in a simple macroeconomic setting. The structure of the economy was only partially known to the players which is a realistic feature of our experiment. We investigate whether subjects manage to approach optimal behavior even if they lack important information. Furthermore, we analyze subjects’ perceptions of the model and whether their behavior is consistent with their perceptions. The full information model predicts changes of employment correctly, but not the level of employment. In the aggregate, subjects have correct perceptions, although individual perceptions are biased.We finally show that deviations from the full information solution are due to optimization failures than than misperceptions.

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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0055.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0055
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  1. Sonnemans, J. & Hommes, C.H. & Tuinstra, J. & van de Velden, H., 1999. "The Instability of a Heterogeneous Cobweb economy: a Strategy Experiment on Expectation Formation," CeNDEF Working Papers 99-06, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Center for Nonlinear Dynamics in Economics and Finance.
  2. Joep Sonnemans & Peter Heemeijer & Cars Hommes, 2005. "Price expectations in the laboratory in positive and negative feedback systems," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 165, Society for Computational Economics.
  3. Jan Tuinstra & Joep Sonnemans & Cars Hommes & Peter Heemeijer, 2006. "Price Stability and Volatility in Markets with Positive and Negative Expectations Feedback: An Experimental Investigation," Working Papers wp06-18, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
  4. Oliver Kirchkamp & Michele Bernasconi & Paolo Paruolo, 2006. "Do fiscal variables affect fiscal expectations? Experiments with real world and lab data," CRIEFF Discussion Papers 0608, Centre for Research into Industry, Enterprise, Finance and the Firm.
  5. Bernasconi, Michele & Kirchkamp, Oliver, 2000. "Why do monetary policies matter? An experimental study of saving and inflation in an overlapping generations model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 315-343, October.
  6. Marcet, Albert & Sargent, Thomas J, 1989. "Convergence of Least-Squares Learning in Environments with Hidden State Variables and Private Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1306-22, December.
  7. Adam, Klaus, 2005. "Experimental evidence on the persistence of output and inflation," Working Paper Series 0492, European Central Bank.
  8. Hommes, Cars & Sonnemans, Joep & Tuinstra, Jan & van de Velden, Henk, 2005. "A strategy experiment in dynamic asset pricing," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 823-843, April.
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