Commodity Durability, Trader Specialization, and Market Performance
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011
Posted: 9 Feb 2013
Date Written: November 29, 2011
The original double auction studies of supply and demand markets established their strong efficiency and equilibrium convergence behavior using economically unsophisticated and untrained subjects. The results were unexpected because all individual costs and values were private and dependent entirely on the market trading process to aggregate the dispersed information into socially desirable outcomes. The exchange environment, however, corresponded to that of perishable, and not re-traded goods in which participants were specialized as buyers or sellers. We report experiments in repeated single-period markets where tradability, and buyer-seller role specialization, is varied by imposing or relaxing a restriction on re-trade within each period. In re-trade markets scope is given to speculative motives unavailable where goods perish on purchase. We observe greatly increased trade volume and decreased efficiency but subject experience increases efficiency. Observed speculation slows convergence by impeding the process whereby individuals learn from the market whether their private circumstances lead them to specialize as buyers or sellers.
Keywords: durable goods, specialization of trade, speculation and liquidity
JEL Classification: C9, E44
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation