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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices GENERAL EQUILIBRIUM: EXCESS DEMAND AND THE RÔLE OF PRICES MICROECONOMICS Principles and Analysis Frank Cowell Almost essential General equilibrium: Basics Useful, but optional General Equilibrium: Price Taking Almost essential General equilibrium: Basics Useful, but optional General Equilibrium: Price Taking Prerequisites March 2012 1 Note: the detail in slides marked * can only be seen if you run the slideshow

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Some unsettled questions Under what circumstances can we be sure that an equilibrium exists? Will the economy somehow tend to this equilibrium? And will this determine the price system for us? We will address these using the standard model of a general-equilibrium system To do this we need just one more new concept March 2012 2

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Overview… Excess Demand Functions Equilibrium Issues Prices and Decentralisation General Equilibrium: Excess Demand+ Definition and properties March 2012 3

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Ingredients of the excess demand function Aggregate demands (the sum of individual households' demands) Aggregate net-outputs (the sum of individual firms' net outputs) Resources Incomes determined by prices check this out March 2012 4

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Aggregate consumption, net output From households demand function x i h = D ih (p, y h ) = D ih (p, y h (p) ) Because incomes depend on prices So demands are just functions of p x i h = x i h (p) Rival: extra consumers require additional resources. Same asconsumer: aggregation If all goods are private (rival) then aggregate demands can be written: x i (p) = h x i h (p) x i h () depends on holdings of resources and shares From firms supply of net output q i f = q i f (p) standard supply functions/ demand for inputs Aggregate: q i = f q i f (p) valid if there are no externalities. As in Firm and the market) graphical summary March 2012 5

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Derivation of x i (p) Alf Bill The Market p1p1 x1x1 a x1x1 b x1x1 p1p1 p1p1 Alfs demand curve for good 1 Bills demand curve for good 1 Pick any price Sum of consumers demand Repeat to get the market demand curve March 2012 6

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Derivation of q i (p) q1q1 p low-cost firm q2q2 p high-cost firm p q 1 +q 2 both firms Supply curve firm 1 (from MC) Supply curve firm 2 Pick any price Sum of individual firms supply Repeat… The market supply curve March 2012 7

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Subtract q and R from x to get E: Demand p1p1 x1x1 p1p1 Resource stock R1R1 1 Excess Demand E1E1 p1p1 E i (p) := x i (p) – q i (p) – R i demand for i aggregated over h Resource stock of i net output of i aggregated over f p1p1 Supply q1q1 March 2012 8

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Equilibrium in terms of Excess Demand Equilibrium is characterised by a price vector p* 0 such that: For every good i: E i (p*) 0 For each good i that has a positive price in equilibrium (i.e. if p i * > 0): E i (p*) = 0 If this is violated, then somebody, somewhere isn't maximising… The materials balance condition (dressed up a bit) You can only have excess supply of a good in equilibrium if the price of that good is 0 March 2012 9

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Using E to find the equilibrium Five steps to the equilibrium allocation 1. From technology compute firms net output functions and profits 2. From property rights compute household incomes and thus household demands 3. Aggregate the xs and qs and use x, q, R to compute E 4. Find p * as a solution to the system of E functions 5. Plug p * into demand functions and net output functions to get the allocation But this begs some questions about step 4 March 2012 10

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Issues in equilibrium analysis Existence Is there any such p*? Uniqueness Is there only one p*? Stability Will p tend to p*? For answers we use some fundamental properties of E March 2012 11

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Two fundamental properties… Walras Law. For any price p: n p i E i (p) = 0 i=1 You only have to work with n-1 (rather than n ) equations Can you explain why they are true? Homogeneity of degree 0. For any price p and any t > 0 : E i (tp) = E i (p) Hint #1: think about the "adding-up" property of demand functions… Hint #2: think about the homogeneity property of demand functions… You can normalise the prices by any positive number Reminder: these hold for any competitive allocation, not just equilibrium March 2012 12

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Price normalisation* We may need to convert from n numbers p 1, p 2,…p n to n 1 relative prices The precise method is essentially arbitrary The choice of method depends on the purpose of your model It can be done in a variety of ways: You could divide by to give a a numéraire standard value system pnpn neat set of n-1 prices p labour p MarsBar Marxian theory of valueMars bar theory of value set of prices that sum to 1 This method might seem weird But it has a nice property The set of all normalised prices is convex and compact n p i i=1 March 2012 13

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Normalised prices, n=2 (1,0) (0,1) J={p: p 0, p 1 +p 2 = 1} (0, 0.25) (0.75, 0) p1p1 p2p2 The set of normalised prices The price vector (0,75, 0.25) March 2012 14

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Normalised prices, n=3 0 p3p3 p1p1 p2p2 (1,0,0) (0,0,1) (0,1,0) J={p: p 0, p 1 +p 2 +p 3 = 1} (0, 0, 0.25) (0.5, 0, 0) (0, 0.25, 0) The set of normalised prices The price vector (0,5, 0.25, 0.25) March 2012 15

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Overview… Excess Demand Functions Equilibrium Issues Prices and Decentralisation General Equilibrium: Excess Demand+ Is there any p *? Existence Uniqueness Stability March 2012 16

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Approach to the existence problem Imagine a rule that moves prices in the direction of excess demand: if E i >0, increase p i if E i 0, decrease p i An example of this under stability below This rule uses the E-functions to map the set of prices into itself An equilibrium exists if this map has a fixed point a p * that is mapped into itself? To find the conditions for this, use normalised prices p J J is a compact, convex set We can examine this in the special case n = 2 In this case normalisation implies that p 2 1 p 1 March 2012 17

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Existence of equilibrium? * E1E1 0 1 p 1 * p1p1 E -functions are: continuous, bounded below Excess supply Excess demand good 1 is free here good 2 is free here ED diagram, normalised prices Excess demand function with well-defined equilibrium price Case with discontinuous E No equilibrium price where E crosses the axis Case where excess demand for good2 is unbounded below E never crosses the axis Why boundedness below? As p 2 0, by normalisation, p 1 1 As p 2 0 if E 2 is bounded below then p 2 E 2 0 By Walras Law, this implies p 1 E 1 0 as p 1 1 So if E 2 is bounded below then E 1 cant be everywhere positive Why boundedness below? As p 2 0, by normalisation, p 1 1 As p 2 0 if E 2 is bounded below then p 2 E 2 0 By Walras Law, this implies p 1 E 1 0 as p 1 1 So if E 2 is bounded below then E 1 cant be everywhere positive Why? March 2012 18

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Existence: a basic result An equilibrium price vector must exist if: 1. excess demand functions are continuous and 2. bounded from below (continuity can be weakened to upper-hemi-continuity) Boundedness is no big deal Can you have infinite excess supply…? However continuity might be tricky Let's put it on hold We examine it under the rôle of prices March 2012 19

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Overview… Excess Demand Functions Equilibrium Issues Prices and Decentralisation General Equilibrium: Excess Demand+ Is there just one p *? Existence Uniqueness Stability March 2012 20

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices The uniqueness problem Multiple equilibria imply multiple allocations, at normalised prices… …with reference to a given property distribution Will not arise if the E-functions satisfy WARP If WARP is not satisfied this can lead to some startling behaviour… let's see March 2012 21

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Multiple equilibria E1E1 0 1 p1p1 Three equilibrium prices Suppose there were more of resource 1 three equilibria degenerate to one! Now take some of resource 1 away single equilibrium jumps to here!! March 2012 22

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Overview… Excess Demand Functions Equilibrium Issues Prices and Decentralisation General Equilibrium: Excess Demand+ Will the system tend to p *? Existence Uniqueness Stability March 2012 23

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Stability analysis We can model stability similar to physical sciences We need… A definition of equilibrium A process Initial conditions Main question is to identify these in economic terms March 2012 24 Simple example

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices A stable equilibrium Equilibrium: Status quo is left undisturbed by gravity Equilibrium: Status quo is left undisturbed by gravity Stable: If we apply a small shock the built-in adjustment process (gravity) restores the status quo Stable: If we apply a small shock the built-in adjustment process (gravity) restores the status quo March 2012 25

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices An unstable equilibrium * Equilibrium: This actually fulfils the definition But… Equilibrium: This actually fulfils the definition But… Unstable: If we apply a small shock the built-in adjustment process (gravity) moves us away from the status quo March 2012 26

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Gravity in the CE model Imagine there is an auctioneer to announce prices, and to adjust if necessary If good i is in excess demand, increase its price If good i is in excess supply, decrease its price (if it hasn't already reached zero) Nobody trades till the auctioneer has finished March 2012 27

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Gravity in the CE model: the auctioneer using tâtonnement* Announce p individual dd & ss Evaluate excess dd Equilibrium? Adjust p individual dd & ss Evaluate excess dd Equilibrium ? Adjust p individual dd & ss Evaluate excess dd Equilibrium? Adjust p individual dd & ss Evaluate excess dd Equilibrium? …once were at equilibrium we trade March 2012 28

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Adjustment and stability Adjust prices according to sign of E i : If E i > 0 then increase p i If E i 0 then decrease p i A linear t â tonnement adjustment mechanism: Define distance d between p(t) and equilibrium p * Given WARP, d falls with t under t â tonnement Two examples: with/without WARP March 2012 29

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Globally stable… 0 1 E1E1 Excess supply Excess demand E 1 (0) p 1 (0) E 1 (0) p 1 (0) p1p1 If E satisfies WARP then the system must converge… Start with a very high price Yields excess supply Under tâtonnement price falls Start instead with a low price Under tâtonnement price rises Yields excess demand p 1 * March 2012 30

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Not globally stable… * 0 1 E1E1 Excess supply Excess demand Locally Stable Locally Stable Unstable p1p1 Also locally stable Also locally stable Start with a very high price …now try a (slightly) low price Start again with very low price Check the middle crossing …now try a (slightly) high price Here WARP does not hold Two locally stable equilibria One unstable March 2012 31

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Overview… Excess Demand Functions Equilibrium Issues Prices and Decentralisation General Equilibrium: Excess Demand+ The separation theorem and the role of large numbers March 2012 32

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Decentralisation Recall the important result on decentralisation discussed in the case of Crusoes island The counterpart is true for this multi-person world Requires assumptions about convexity of two sets, defined at the aggregate level: the attainable set: A := {x: x q+R, (q) the better-than set: B(x*) := { h x h : U h (x h ) U h (x* h ) } To see the power of the result here… use an averaging argument previously used in lectures on the firm March 2012 33

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Decentralisation again * The attainable set x2x2 x1x1 0 A = {x: x q+R, (q) 0} The price line The Better-than- x * set A B p 1 p 2 B = { h x h : U h (x h ) U h (x *h )} Decentralisation x * maximises income over A x * minimises expenditure over B x * March 2012 34

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Problems with prices Either non-convex technology (increasing returns or other indivisibilities) for some firms, or… …non-convexity of B-set (non-concave- contoured preferences) for some households… …may imply discontinuous excess demand function and so… …absence of equilibrium But if there are large numbers of agents everything may be OK two examples March 2012 35

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices A non-convex technology* input output The case with 1 firm Rescaled case of 2 firms, … 4, 8, 16 Limit of the averaging process The Better-than set A One unit of input produces exactly one of output q* q' B Limiting attainable set is convex Equilibrium q * is sustained by a mixture of firms at q ° and q ' separating prices and equilibrium q° March 2012 36

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Non-convex preferences* x1x1 x2x2 No equilib- rium here The case with 1 person Rescaled case of 2 persons, A continuum of consumers The attainable set A separating prices and equilibrium Limiting better-than set is convex Equilibrium x * is sustained by a mixture of consumers at x ° and x ' x* x' x° March 2012 37 B

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Frank Cowell: GE Excess Demand & Prices Summary Excess demand functions are handy tools for getting results Continuity and boundedness ensure existence of equilibrium WARP ensures uniqueness and stability But requirements of continuity may be demanding Review March 2012 38

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MICROECONOMICS Principles and Analysis Frank Cowell

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