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Is the market really a good teacher?

Pascal Seppecher (), Isabelle Salle and Dany Lang ()
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Isabelle Salle: Utrecht University

Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 2019, vol. 29, issue 1, 299-335

Abstract: Abstract This paper proposes to model market mechanisms as a collective learning process for firms in a complex adaptive system, namely Jamel, an agent-based, stock-flow consistent macroeconomic model. Inspired by Alchian’s (J Polit Econ: 5(3):211–221, 1950) “blanketing shotgun process” idea, our learning model is an ever-adapting process that puts a significant weight on exploration vis-à-vis exploitation. We show that decentralized market selection allows firms collectively to adapt their overall debt strategies to the changes in the macroeconomic environment so that the system sustains itself, but at the cost of recurrent deep downturns. We conclude that, in complex evolving economies, market processes do not lead to the selection of optimal behaviors, as the characterization of successful behaviors itself constantly evolves as a result of the market conditions that these behaviors contribute to shaping. Heterogeneity in behavior remains essential to adaptation. We come to an evolutionary characterization of a crisis, as the point where the evolution of the macroeconomic system becomes faster than the adaptation capabilities of the agents that populate it.

Keywords: Evolutionary economics; Learning; Firms’ adaptation; Business cycles (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B52 C63 D21 D83 E32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Related works:
Working Paper: Is the market really a good teacher ? Market selection, collective adaptation and financial instability (2019)
Working Paper: Is the Market Really a Good Teacher? (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Is the Market Really a Good Teacher? Market Selection, Collective Adaptation and Financial Instability (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Is the market really a good teacher ? (2016) Downloads
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