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

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  • Roos, Michael W. M.
  • Luhan, Wolfgang J.

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Roos, Michael W. M. & Luhan, Wolfgang J., 2008. "As if or What? – Expectations and Optimization in a Simple Macroeconomic Environment," Ruhr Economic Papers 55, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:rwirep:55
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Klaus Adam, 2007. "Experimental Evidence on the Persistence of Output and Inflation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(520), pages 603-636, April.
    3. 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 1306-1322, December.
    4. Bernasconi, Michele & Kirchkamp, Oliver & Paruolo, Paolo, 2009. "Do fiscal variables affect fiscal expectations? Experiments with real world and lab data," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 253-265, May.
    5. Marimon Ramon & Spear Stephen E. & Sunder Shyam, 1993. "Expectationally Driven Market Volatility: An Experimental Study," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 74-103, October.
    6. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Markets as Economizers of Information: Experimental Examination of the "Hayek Hypothesis"," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 20(2), pages 165-179, April.
    7. Sonnemans, Joep & Hommes, Cars & Tuinstra, Jan & van de Velden, Henk, 2004. "The instability of a heterogeneous cobweb economy: a strategy experiment on expectation formation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 453-481, August.
    8. Peng Lian & Charles R. Plott, 1998. "General equilibrium, markets, macroeconomics and money in a laboratory experimental environment," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 12(1), pages 21-75.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael W. M. Roos & Wolfgang J. Luhan, 2013. "Information, Learning and Expectations in an Experimental Model Economy," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(319), pages 513-531, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Methodology; macroeconomic experiment; perceptions; optimization; expectations;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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