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Less Rationality, More Efficiency: a Laboratory Experiment on "Lemons" Markets

  • Kirstein, Annette
  • Kirstein, Roland

In this paper we experimentally test a theory of boundedly rational behavior in a "lemons market." We analyzed two different market designs, for which perfect rationality implies complete and partial market collapse, respectively. Our empirical observations deviate substantially from these predictions of rational choice theory: Even after 20 repetitions, the actual outcome is closer to efficiency than expected. Our bounded rationality approach to explaining these observations starts with the insight that perfect rationality would require the players to perform an infinite number of iterative reasoning steps. Boundedly rational players, however, carry out only a limited number of such iterations. We have determined the iteration type of the players independently from their market behavior. A significant correlation exists between the iteration types and the observed price offers.

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File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/23091/1/2004-02_lemon2005.pdf
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Paper provided by Saarland University, CSLE - Center for the Study of Law and Economics in its series CSLE Discussion Paper Series with number 2004-02 [rev.].

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:csledp:200402r
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  1. Jacob K Goeree & Charles A Holt, 2004. "Ten Little Treasures of Game Theory and Ten Intuitive Contradictions," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000900, David K. Levine.
  2. Schotter, Andrew & Weigelt, Keith & Wilson, Charles, 1990. "A Laboratory Investigation Of Multi-Person Rationality And Presentation Effects," Working Papers 90-24, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  3. Antoni Bosch-Dom�nech & Jos� G. Montalvo & Rosemarie Nagel & Albert Satorra, 2002. "One, Two, (Three), Infinity, ...: Newspaper and Lab Beauty-Contest Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1687-1701, December.
  4. Colin F. Camerer, 1997. "Progress in Behavioral Game Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 167-188, Fall.
  5. McKelvey, Richard D & Palfrey, Thomas R, 1992. "An Experimental Study of the Centipede Game," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 803-36, July.
  6. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  7. Rosenthal, Robert W., 1981. "Games of perfect information, predatory pricing and the chain-store paradox," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 92-100, August.
  8. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  9. T. Randolph Beard & Richard O. Beil, 1994. "Do People Rely on the Self-Interested Maximization of Others? An Experimental Test," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(2), pages 252-262, February.
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