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A Simple Decentralized Institution for Learning Competitive Equilibrium


  • Sean Crockett
  • Shyam Sunder
  • Stephen Spear


The epsilon-intelligent competitive equilibrium algorithm is a decentralized alternative to Walrus' tatonnement procedure for markets to arrive at competitive equilibrium. We build on the Gode-Spear-Sunder zero-intelligent algorithm in which random generation of bids and offers from agents' welfare-enhancing opportunity sets generates Pareto optimal allocations in a pure exchange economy. We permit agents to know if they are subsidizing others at such allocations, and to veto such allocations, restricting the subsequent iterations of the algorithm only to those trades that are both Pareto-improving and provide strictly greater wealth, and ultimately utility, for such agents. In this simple institution actions of minimally intelligent agents based on local information can lead the market to approximate competitive equilibrium in a larger set of economies than the tatonnement process would allow. This helps address one of the major shortcomings of the Arrow-Debreu-McKenzie model with respect to the instability of tatonnement in an open set of economies. It also addresses the behavioral critique of mathematically derived equilibria for the inability of cognitively-limited humans to maximize. The proof of convergence of the algorithm presented here also provides a way of showing the existence of competitive equilibrium for monotonic, convex exchange economies with heterogeneous agents and many goods without application of a fixed-point theorem.

Suggested Citation

  • Sean Crockett & Shyam Sunder & Stephen Spear, 2002. "A Simple Decentralized Institution for Learning Competitive Equilibrium," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm318, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Feb 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:ysm:somwrk:ysm318

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Shyam NMI Sunder, 2001. "Design and Implementation of Contracts: A Comparison of Factor Markets Relevant to Financial Reporting in Japan and the U.S," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm203, Yale School of Management.
    2. Shyam NMI Sunder, 2002. "Value of the Firm: Who Gets the Goodies?," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm283, Yale School of Management.
    3. repec:bla:joares:v:36:y:1998:i:1:p:57-70 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Dodd, Peter & Leftwich, Richard, 1980. "The Market for Corporate Charters: "Unhealthy Competition versus Federal Regulation."," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(3), pages 259-283, July.
    5. Plott, Charles R & Sunder, Shyam, 1982. "Efficiency of Experimental Security Markets with Insider Information: An Application of Rational-Expectations Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 663-698, August.
    6. Gode, Dhananjay K & Sunder, Shyam, 1993. "Allocative Efficiency of Markets with Zero-Intelligence Traders: Market as a Partial Substitute for Individual Rationality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 119-137, February.
    7. Shyam NMI Sunder & Ronald A. Dye, 2001. "Why Not Allow the FASB and IASB Standards to Compete in the U.S.?," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm192, Yale School of Management.
    8. Huddart, Steven & Hughes, John S. & Brunnermeier, Markus, 1999. "Disclosure requirements and stock exchange listing choice in an international context," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1-3), pages 237-269, January.
    9. Plott, Charles R & Sunder, Shyam, 1988. "Rational Expectations and the Aggregation of Diverse Information in Laboratory Security Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1085-1118, September.
    10. Datar, Srikant M. & Feltham, Gerald A. & Hughes, John S., 1991. "The role of audits and audit quality in valuing new issues," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 3-49, March.
    11. Titman, Sheridan & Trueman, Brett, 1986. "Information quality and the valuation of new issues," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 159-172, June.
    12. Rong-Ruey Duh & Karim Jamal & Shyam NMI Sunder, 2001. "Control and Assurance in E-Commerce: Privacy, Integrity and Security at eBay," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm170, Yale School of Management.
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    Cited by:

    1. Duffy, John, 2006. "Agent-Based Models and Human Subject Experiments," Handbook of Computational Economics,in: Leigh Tesfatsion & Kenneth L. Judd (ed.), Handbook of Computational Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 19, pages 949-1011 Elsevier.


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