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Aggregation and convergence in experimental general equilibrium economies constructed from naturally occurring preferences

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Listed:
  • Crockett, Sean
  • Friedman, Daniel
  • Oprea, Ryan

Abstract

Prior laboratory experiments have studied general equilibrium economies constructed from "induced preferences" for artificial goods. We introduce new methods that allow us to study economies constructed instead from subjects' actual, "homegrown" preferences. Our subjects reveal their preferences by choosing portfolios of Arrow securities from budget lines through fixed endowments for a series of prices. We then construct several different economies by sorting subjects according to their revealed preferences. The constructed economies exhibit a wide range of predicted outcomes, where predictions are competitive general equilibria given the revealed preferences. Perhaps surprisingly, in every one of our markets the predicted excess demand is well-behaved, and avoids the pathologies highlighted in the Sonnenschein-Mantel-Debreu theorem. (The main reason seems to be heterogeneity in revealed preferences.) Actual trade in the constructed economies using a tatonnement market institution closely tracks predictions in most markets. The exceptions occur in economies with severe wealth effects that generate excess demands that are flat relative to measured preference volatility.

Suggested Citation

  • Crockett, Sean & Friedman, Daniel & Oprea, Ryan, 2017. "Aggregation and convergence in experimental general equilibrium economies constructed from naturally occurring preferences," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship Market Design: Theory and Pragmatics SP II 2017-501, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmdn:spii2017501
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    experimental economics; general equilibrium; aggregation; portfolio choice; heterogeneity; risk preferences; tatonnement;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D51 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Exchange and Production Economies
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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