Working Paper BETA #2016-20

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Title : Playing the game the others want to play: Keynes’ beauty contest revisited

Author(s) : Camille Cornand, Rodolphe Dos Santos Ferreira

Abstract : In Keynes’ beauty contest, agents make choices by referring to their expectations of some fundamental value and of the conventional value to be set by the market. In doing so, agents respond to fundamental and strategic motives, respectively. The prevalence of either motive is usually set exogenously. Our contribution is to consider whether agents favor one of the two motives when the relative weights put on them are taken as strategic variables. We show that the strategic motive tends to prevail over the fundamental one, yielding a disconnection of agents’ actions from the fundamental. This is done in a simple valuation game emphasizing the role of public information. We then extend the same result to competition between the owners of two firms, by using a delegation game in which informational issues are embedded into a broader microfounded setting.

Key-words : beauty contest, dispersed information, public signals, coordination, competition.

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