Journal Of The Econometric Society

An International Society for the Advancement of Economic
Theory in its Relation to Statistics and Mathematics

Edited by: Guido W. Imbens • Print ISSN: 0012-9682 • Online ISSN: 1468-0262

Econometrica: Jul, 2001, Volume 69, Issue 4

Nonspeculative Bubbles in Experimental Asset Markets: Lack of Common Knowledge of Rationality vs. Actual Irrationality
p. 831-859

Vivian Lei, Charles N. Noussair, Charles R. Plott

We report the results of an experiment designed to study the role of speculation in the formation of bubbles and crashes in laboratory asset markets. In a setting in which speculation is not possible, bubbles and crashes are observed. The results suggest that the departures from fundamental values are not caused by the lack of common knowledge of rationality leading to speculation, but rather by behavior that itself exhibits elements of irrationality. Much of the trading activity that accompanies bubble formation, in markets where speculation is possible, is due to the fact that there is no other activity available for participants in the experiment.

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