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Problems and progress in Financial Economics: The General Equilibrium Model, the Efficient Market Hypothesis Problems and progress in Financial Economics: The General Equilibrium Model, the Efficient Market Hypothesis and a new equilibrium concept Alan Kirman, GREQAM, Université Paul Cézanne, EHESS, IUF Presentation at the Econofis’ 10 Meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil March 25 th 2010

Two important questions To what extent should the economic crisis cause us to rethink Two important questions To what extent should the economic crisis cause us to rethink economic theory? Do economists and their theories bear any responsibility for the crisis? Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

A Remark We spent the twentieth century perfecting a model based on nineteenth century A Remark We spent the twentieth century perfecting a model based on nineteenth century physics Maybe in the twenty first century we can make more use of twentieth century physics Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Paul De Grauwe: The crushing responsibility of economists « Clearly the financial crisis is Paul De Grauwe: The crushing responsibility of economists « Clearly the financial crisis is not only due to the delusions of macroeconomists. The delusions were quite widespread among bankers, supervisors, media and policymakers. Yet society expects the community of scientists to be less prone to delusions than the rest. In that sense the responsibility of the economics profession is crushing » . Financial Times 2009 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Blameless Economists Economics should bear no more blame for predicting any economic meltdown than Blameless Economists Economics should bear no more blame for predicting any economic meltdown than a meteorologist for failing to call for snow. Both fields of modeling are as complex and vast when done correctly. Now it is possible that someday meteorologist will get really good at predicting the weather, and it seems they do improve with time, but I doubt they will ever get it exactly right all the time. Economics will always be the same. They will never get it exactly right, particularly since whatever they predict actually influences the prediction. So, since predicting the weather is a worthwhile exercise even though it is inexact, so to is economic prediction. in both cases, the fields are getting less wrong with time, but will never always be right. Brian Jones FT Blog Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

The responsibility of scientists This is a longstanding debate with which physicists are familiar The responsibility of scientists This is a longstanding debate with which physicists are familiar It was brought into particular prominence by the development of nuclear weapons. But what about economists? Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Which side should we come down on? My basic claim is that we have Which side should we come down on? My basic claim is that we have been building unsound models which were the basis for many policies and practices. This was not simply harmless academic research Too many people developed and acted according to a world view which was unjustified What are now referred to as « excesses » are an intrinsic part of the economic system. We were not guilty of not forecasting the onset of the crisis but we were guilty of building models in which it could not happen. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Today’s Crisis We are faced with a virtual collapse of the world’s financial system Today’s Crisis We are faced with a virtual collapse of the world’s financial system which has had dire consequences for the real economy. The explanations given involve networks of banks, trust and contagion at all levels These are not features of, nor characteristic of, economic models They are typical of complex systems Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Confidence in our theory The “central problem of depression-prevention has been solved, ” , Confidence in our theory The “central problem of depression-prevention has been solved, ” , Robert Lucas 2003 presidential address to the American Economic Association. In 2004, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, celebrated the « Great Moderation » in economic performance over the previous two decades, which he attributed in part to improved economic policy making. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Economists live in a different world Chicago’s Cochrane, outraged at the idea that government Economists live in a different world Chicago’s Cochrane, outraged at the idea that government spending could mitigate the latest recession, declared: “It’s not part of what anybody has taught graduate students since the 1960 s. They [Keynesian ideas] are fairy tales that have been proved false. It is very comforting in times of stress to go back to the fairy tales we heard as children, but it doesn’t make them less false. ” … Cochrane doesn’t believe that “anybody” teaches ideas that are, in fact, taught in places like Princeton, M. I. T. and Harvard. Paul Krugman (2009) NYT Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Explaining economic phenomena Everyone wants to know how the economy can suddenly go into Explaining economic phenomena Everyone wants to know how the economy can suddenly go into a downturn like the current crisis. Do economists build models which can explain this or do they offer ad hoc explanations without really questioning their models, (DSGE for example)? In my view, we start with the wrong basis, we start from the isolated individual and build up to the aggregate without looking at the most important feature: the economy as a system of interacting agents. I believe, that we should view the economy as a « complex adaptive system » Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Our Basic Aims as Economists? We wish to explain economic phenomena We would like Our Basic Aims as Economists? We wish to explain economic phenomena We would like to construct models based on reasonable assumptions that lead to testable conclusions When confronted with empirical data it should be possible to reject the model But the very basis of our approach is not conducive to these aims. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

An economic model is not scientific if it does not have“Sound Microfoundations” By this An economic model is not scientific if it does not have“Sound Microfoundations” By this we mean that we have a model based on the rational optimising behaviour of the individuals in the market or economy. This has been widely criticised from Simon onwards. In standard market models and in particular in macro models we characterise aggregate behaviour as resulting from such an individual model. This is at the heart of the General Equibrium Model Yet much structure is lost under aggregation so this Presentation at the Econofis' 10 is not legitimate theory. Brazil, March 25 th meeting Sao Paolo, 2010

The scientific approach « There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale The scientific approach « There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact » Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883) Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Rationality Why are we economists so attached to our rational individuals? Mathematical convenience or Rationality Why are we economists so attached to our rational individuals? Mathematical convenience or economic plausibility? The assumptions are not testable they come from introspection. (Pareto, Koopmans, Hicks…. . ) They do not allow for development of preferences over time They do not allow for the influence of others Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

What do our assumptions on rationality allow us to show? Think, for the moment What do our assumptions on rationality allow us to show? Think, for the moment of an exchange economy, one without production. Individuals have preferences over bundles of the l goods and an initial endowment of goods, e(a) We make strong assumptions about these preferences, complete pre-orders, continuity, monotonicity, convexity Individuals optimise their choice at given prices within their budget constraint Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Demand Aggregate Demand. Each individual thus has a demand function for each price system Demand Aggregate Demand. Each individual thus has a demand function for each price system p We can aggregate over agents a This gives Now finally we can consider aggregate excess demand given by Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Equilibrium, existence, uniqueness and stability An equilibrium is then simply defined as p is Equilibrium, existence, uniqueness and stability An equilibrium is then simply defined as p is an equilibrium price vector if Z(p) = 0. What we can show is the existence of an equilibrium What we cannot show, (results of Sonnenschein, Mantel and Debreu) are the uniqueness or stability of equilibrium Yet these two are primordial. Why? Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Warnings This should have alerted us to the difficulties of our model No uniqueness, Warnings This should have alerted us to the difficulties of our model No uniqueness, no comparative statics For an economy to converge to an equilibrium from arbitrary starting prices would need an infinite amount of information, (result of Saari and Simon) Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

The Easy Way Out Macroeconomists make the assumption that the aggregate economy or market The Easy Way Out Macroeconomists make the assumption that the aggregate economy or market acts like an individual. They use the « representative agent » This removes the problems raised by SMD since an economy with one agent has a unique and stable equilibrium But is this legitimate? Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Correspondence with Bob Solow April 1988 « My view of the way economists actually Correspondence with Bob Solow April 1988 « My view of the way economists actually do behave coincides with yours , and most especially about macroeconomists. I have become a sort of common scold on this subject. I wholeheartedly agree with the point that economics self-destructs in part because we insist on supposing that everywhere and always individuals maximize purely individualistic preferences subject only to technological, legal, and budget constraints. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Correspondence continued It is a transparently false assumption, and the brotherhood expends vast ingenuity Correspondence continued It is a transparently false assumption, and the brotherhood expends vast ingenuity trying to account for facts within that silly framework. There at least two of us. » Robert M Solow Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

The result of the insistence on « scientific » foundations Modern macro-economists have built The result of the insistence on « scientific » foundations Modern macro-economists have built more and more abstract and mathematically sophisticated models (Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Models). These models do not contain the possibility of a crisis They bear no perceptible relation to reality. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Bob Solow’s View today Maybe there is in human nature a deep-seated perverse pleasure Bob Solow’s View today Maybe there is in human nature a deep-seated perverse pleasure in adopting and defending a wholly counterintuitive doctrine that leaves the uninitiated peasant wondering what planet he or she is on. —Robert M Solow 2009 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Is Rationality Intrinsic or Learned? Is Rationality Intrinsic or Learned? "In general we view, or model, an individual as a collection of decision rules (rules that dictate the action to be taken in given situations) and a set of preferences used to evaluate the outcomes arising from particular situation-action combinations. These decision rules are continuously under review and revision: new decisions are tried and tested against experience, and rules that produce desirable outcomes supplant those that do not. I use the term "adaptive" to refer to this trial-and-error process through which our modes of behaviour are determined. " Lucas (1988) Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Yes But! So Lucas argues that we can safely assume that individuals act as Yes But! So Lucas argues that we can safely assume that individuals act as if they were optimising But, if the environment consists of other individuals who are also learning what guarantee do we have that the system will converge to « as if « optimising behaviour? Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Who is learning in the economy? People learn but they learn about other people Who is learning in the economy? People learn but they learn about other people who are also learning! So it is not clear who is really learning! Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Herb Simon “Roughly by a complex system I mean one made up of a Herb Simon “Roughly by a complex system I mean one made up of a large number of parts that interact in a nonsimple way. In such systems, the whole is more than the sum of the parts, not in an ultimate metaphysical sense, but in the important pragmatic sense that, given the properties of the parts and the laws of their interaction, it is not a trivial matter to infer the properties of the whole. In the face of complexity, an in-principle reductionist may be at the same time a pragmatic holist. ” Herbert Simon (1962, p. 267) Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Is complexity just a fad in economics? Complex systems are characterised by the following Is complexity just a fad in economics? Complex systems are characterised by the following features: They are composed of interacting “agents” These agents may have simple behavioural rules The interaction among the agents means that aggregate phenomena are intrinsically different from individual behaviour. The network which governs the interaction is crucial Some comments on the current financial situation Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Coordination v. Efficiency is the major concern of economists We focus on efficient mechanisms, Coordination v. Efficiency is the major concern of economists We focus on efficient mechanisms, such as auctions (an example). Yet perhaps the problem of coordination is the most important How do collective outcomes emerge from the interaction between individuals each of whom has only a local vision of the situation? Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Why are Aggregates Different from Individuals? Revolutions and Crowds Why are Aggregates Different from Individuals? Revolutions and Crowds

Who is responsible? « In a an avalanche no single snowflake feels itself responsible Who is responsible? « In a an avalanche no single snowflake feels itself responsible » Voltaire Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Isaac Newton « I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the Isaac Newton « I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people » Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Why not treat the aggregate like an individual? ? Why not treat the aggregate like an individual? ?

Back to basics: Our first aim in theory Our analysis is based on the Back to basics: Our first aim in theory Our analysis is based on the idea of equilibrium. Thus we have, as I have said, first to prove the existence of equilibrium Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

For this we want CONTINUITY of aggregate behaviour This we try to obtain by For this we want CONTINUITY of aggregate behaviour This we try to obtain by constructing continuous individuals. Adding these will guarantee continuity at the aggregate level But when individuals are heterogeneous and not continuous we may still get continuous behaviour at the aggregate level. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

An Example: Bees The example of bees. Notice the difference between the “representative bee” An Example: Bees The example of bees. Notice the difference between the “representative bee” and reality. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Where does the difficulty with the standard economic model come from? The economy is Where does the difficulty with the standard economic model come from? The economy is made up of individuals who interact directly. Such systems do not have aggregate behaviour which can be characterised as the average behaviour of the individuals Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Direct interaction Economic agents interact with each other They exchange information They influence each Direct interaction Economic agents interact with each other They exchange information They influence each other by modifying each others’ expectations for example They mimic each other They trade Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Trade and its organisation None of the following questions is answered within the standard Trade and its organisation None of the following questions is answered within the standard model Who trades with whom? How is this organised? Who sets prices and how? What are the prices at each stage? These questions are not, in general, meaningful without direct interaction. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Game Theory This is one approach which does take account of direct interaction The Game Theory This is one approach which does take account of direct interaction The problems with this approach The rationality attributed to individuals is of a different order from that of the General Equilibrium model. We increase the calculating capacity of agents. Coordination, the choice of roads. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

A Less Demanding View Think of a world in which agents use simple rules A Less Demanding View Think of a world in which agents use simple rules and interact with those around them They learn from and about those with whom they are linked If we take this view « externalities » are central and not an inconvenient imperfection. Once we accept this we have to specify the nature of interaction and how individuals take account of each others’ actions and decisions The network of relations governs the evolution of the economy Understanding the structure and evolution of this network is crucial to understanding Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March macroeconomic phenomena. 25 th 2010

Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Ants Would you try to predict the behaviour of an ants’ nest from the Ants Would you try to predict the behaviour of an ants’ nest from the behaviour of the « representative ant » Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

An Important Example: Financial Market Models of financial markets share the same basic building An Important Example: Financial Market Models of financial markets share the same basic building blocks. Agents have a way of forecasting the future prices. This determines how much the agents’ wish to buy and this in turn determines the price of the assets. The prices will influence the forecasts. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

The Efficient Markets Hypothesis This is very simple All relevant information is contained in The Efficient Markets Hypothesis This is very simple All relevant information is contained in prices therefore there is no need to look anywhere else: paradox This basic argument comes from the work of Bachelier but his thesis adviser said… Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Un avertissement Quand des hommes sont rapprochés, ils ne se décident plus au hasard Un avertissement Quand des hommes sont rapprochés, ils ne se décident plus au hasard et indépendamment les uns des autres ; ils réagissent les uns sur les autres. Des causes multiples entrent en action, et elles troublent les hommes, les entraînent à droite et à gauche, mais il y a une chose qu'elles ne peuvent détruire, ce sont leurs habitudes de moutons de Panurge. Et c'est cela qui se conserve Henri Poincaré La Valeur de la Science 1908 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

And! Speaking of the « efficient markets hypothesis » « The whole intellectual edifice And! Speaking of the « efficient markets hypothesis » « The whole intellectual edifice collapsed in the summer of last year » Alan Greenspan, testimony to House of Representatives Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, October 23 rd 2008 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

But there were other clear warnings From the outset Poincaré and others argued that But there were other clear warnings From the outset Poincaré and others argued that the underlying Gaussian assumption was flawed. The empirical evidence showed this Yet, Markowitz developed his optimal portfolio theory on this basis Worse, Black-Scholes is based on the same assumption Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Why then did we persist? Because if we drop the Gaussian assumption we can Why then did we persist? Because if we drop the Gaussian assumption we can no longer use the central limit theorem and we lose the finite variance property So we continued to look where there was light But Fama (1965) himself, pointed out that diversification without the hypothesis is not justified! Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Warren Buffet’s Warning « In our view, however, derivatives are financial weapons of mass Warren Buffet’s Warning « In our view, however, derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that, while now latent, are potentially lethal. » Chairman’s letter to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. February 2003 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Inertia The finance profession like the economics profession exhibited an enormous amount of inertia Inertia The finance profession like the economics profession exhibited an enormous amount of inertia Persist with a model you know how to analyse even if it does not correspond to anything you might observe In the economics case, even if major crises are not possible in the model. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Mencken cited by Krugman H. L. Mencken: “There is always an easy solution to Mencken cited by Krugman H. L. Mencken: “There is always an easy solution to every human problem — neat, plausible and wrong. ” Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Looking into the sky quickly gets passers-by to follow. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 Looking into the sky quickly gets passers-by to follow. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Informational Cascades 1 Here rational individuals, by their interaction, achieve an inefficient result The Informational Cascades 1 Here rational individuals, by their interaction, achieve an inefficient result The restaurant example Individuals have two signals about the quality of two restaurants A and B. The private signal is 90% reliable and the public signal is 55% reliable Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Informational Cascades 2 Suppose A is “objectively better” The public signal says B is Informational Cascades 2 Suppose A is “objectively better” The public signal says B is better 90% of the private signals say A is better Everyone may wind up in B. Collective influence eliminates private information Contradiction with “efficient markets hypothesis” Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

What is the problem with the Efficient Markets Hypothesis empirically? What we have to What is the problem with the Efficient Markets Hypothesis empirically? What we have to explain is sudden large movements without the arrival of an exogenous shock or piece of news. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Where did the switch come from? Derive a more complicated stochastic process Put it Where did the switch come from? Derive a more complicated stochastic process Put it down to an exogenous shock, but then you must be able to identify the shock Find a micro model of interacting agents which generates this sort of shift Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Where did the switch come from? With Hans Foellmer and Ulrich Horst, we have Where did the switch come from? With Hans Foellmer and Ulrich Horst, we have built models of financial markets to help understand where these sudden changes come from These models incorporate the idea that people follow the behaviour of others particularly when that behaviour is successful The behaviour is not irrational. Horizons. These models capture the contagion effects There is structure in financial time series but no convergence to equilibrium in the standard sense. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

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Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

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Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Stopping the process from exploding Bound the probability that an individual can become a Stopping the process from exploding Bound the probability that an individual can become a chartist If we do not do this the process may simply explode We do not put arbitrary limits on the prices that can be attained however Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010 Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

A New Idea of Equilibrium The distribution of the time averages of prices converges. A New Idea of Equilibrium The distribution of the time averages of prices converges. If the probability of becoming a chartist is not too high. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Self Organisation This idea that markets self organise was espoused by Hayek This has Self Organisation This idea that markets self organise was espoused by Hayek This has been used as a justification for not interfering with markets. Markets do clearly self organise but we have no reason to believe that this is a stable process. As the actors within them modify their rules new norms appear and these can gently lead the system to major “phase transitions”. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

An example (with Matteo Marsili) The idea here is to show the gradual but An example (with Matteo Marsili) The idea here is to show the gradual but rational adoption of rules at the individual level may lead to radical change at the aggregate level Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Regulating the system My main argument in this context is that the sort of Regulating the system My main argument in this context is that the sort of complex system I have described is intrinsically difficult to control If we put in place a set of constraints and rules today they will have to be continually adapted as markets adapt We cannot simply design from scratch a « new regulatory framework » and then let things run. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

If only! The view that we can set up a new more sophisticated set If only! The view that we can set up a new more sophisticated set of rules and then everything will be under control is illusory. It is based on the idea that there is a « correct » model and if only we can find it we can establish the right rules and leave markets to sort things out. But, in reality the economy is constantly evolving and therefore so must the rules. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

The Bank of England’s View When comparing the failure of Lehman bros and the The Bank of England’s View When comparing the failure of Lehman bros and the epidemic of bird flu, Haldane says, « These similarities are no coincidence. Both events were manifestations of the behaviour under stress of a complex, adaptive network. Complex because these networks were a cat’s-cradle of interconnections, financial and non-financial. Adaptive because behaviour in these networks was driven by interactions between optimising, but confused, agents. Seizures in the electricity grid, degradation of ecosystems, the spread of epidemics and the disintegration of the financial system – each is essentially a different branch of the same network family tree. » Andy Haldane, Director of the Bank of England responsible for financial stability. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

What are the characteristics of the international financial network? In Charts 1 -3, the What are the characteristics of the international financial network? In Charts 1 -3, the nodes are scaled in proportion to total external financial stocks, the thickness of the links between nodes is proportional to bilateral external financial stocks relative to GDP. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

The danger signs 1. 2. 3. 4. The scale and interconnectivity of the international The danger signs 1. 2. 3. 4. The scale and interconnectivity of the international financial network has increased significantly over the past two decades. Nodes have increased 14 -fold and links have increased 6 fold. The degree distribution has a long-tail. Measures of skew and kurtosis suggest significant asymmetry in the distribution. There is a small number of financial hubs with multiple spokes. The average path length of the international financial network has shrunk over the past twenty years. Between the largest nation states, there are fewer than 1. 4 degrees of separation. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Result: Vulnerability Such systems are vulnerable to the transmission of problems, particularly those originating Result: Vulnerability Such systems are vulnerable to the transmission of problems, particularly those originating in one of the large nodes. But nobody planned that the system should develop in this way, it is the result of self organisation. Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

Conclusions What we have to do is to make models of the economy which Conclusions What we have to do is to make models of the economy which take into account the direct interaction between individuals. This is a central, not a peripheral, concern In financial markets prices are constantly moving and do not settle down to a steady state. The economy should be viewed as a system made up of individuals following simple rules. To repeat we are not guilty of not having been able to forecast the onset of the current crisis but we are guilty of having built models in which it could not happen! Worse, our models have been used as the basis for recommendations which have led to widespread Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th misery! 2010

How long will it take? « A new scientific truth does not triumph by How long will it take? « A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it » Max Planck, A Scientific Autobiography (1949). Presentation at the Econofis' 10 meeting Sao Paolo, Brazil, March 25 th 2010

If you wish to learn more despite this talk Complex Economics: Individual and Collective If you wish to learn more despite this talk Complex Economics: Individual and Collective Rationality Alan Kirman Forthcoming Routledge 2010 http: //www. vcharite. univmrs. fr/~nobi/book. pdf