Econometrica: Sep 1988, Volume 56, Issue 5

Rational Expectations and the Aggregation of Diverse Information in Laboratory Security Markets<1085:REATAO>2.0.CO;2-H
p. 1085-1118

Charles R. Plott, Shyam Sunder

The idea that markets might aggregate and disseminate information and also resolve conflicts is central to the literature on decentralization (Hurwicz, 1972) and rational expectations (Lucas, 1972). We report on three series of experiments all of which were predicted to have performed identically by the theory of rational expectations. In two of the three series (one in which participants trade a complete set of Arrow-Debreu securities and a second in which all participants have identical preferences), double auction trading leads to efficient aggregation of diverse information and rational expectations equilibrium. Failure of the third series to exhibit such convergence demonstrates the importance of market institutions and trading instruments in achievement of equilibrium.

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