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Cognitive bubbles

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Smith et al. (1988) reported large bubbles and crashes in experimental asset markets, a result that has been replicated by a large literature. Here we test whether the occurrence of bubbles depends on the experimental subjects' cognitive sophistication. In a two-part experiment, we first run a battery of tests to assess the subjects' cognitive sophistication and classify them into low or high levels of cognitive sophistication. We then invite them separately to two asset market experiments populated only by subjects with either low or high cognitive sophistication. We observe classic bubble- crash patterns in the sessions populated by subjects with low levels of cognitive sophistication. Yet, no bubbles or crashes are observed with our sophisticated subjects. This result lends strong support to the view that the usual bubbles and crashes in experimental asset markets are caused by subjects' confusion and, therefore, raises some doubts about the external validity of this type of experiments.

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  • Ciril Bosch-Rosa & Thomas Meissner & Antoni Bosch-Domènech, 2015. "Cognitive bubbles," Economics Working Papers 1464, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1464
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    • Ciril Bosch-Rosa & Thomas Meissner & Antoni Bosch-Domènech, 2015. "Cognitive Bubbles," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2015-006, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    • Ciril Bosch-Rosa & Thomas Meissner & Antoni Bosch-Domènech, 2015. "Cognitive Bubbles," Working Papers 2015006, Berlin Doctoral Program in Economics and Management Science (BDPEMS).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Asset Market Experiment; Bubbles; Cognitive Sophistication.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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