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Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US)
Finance and Economics Discussion Series
Smart systems and simple agents: industry pricing by parallel rules
Raymond Board
Peter A. Tinsley
Abstract

A standard macroeconomic specification is that the aggregate economy is directed by a single, smart representative agent using optimal decision rules. This paper explores an alternative conjecture--that the dynamic behavior of markets is often better interpreted as the interactions of many heterogeneous, rule-of-thumb agents who are loosely coupled in smart systems--much like the contrast of a single serial processor with global information versus parallel processors with limited communications. The illustration used in this paper is the contrast between a conventional macro model of sluggish adjustments in an aggregate producer price index and a model of delayed industry price adjustments in a distributed production system under costly inter-firm communications.


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Raymond Board & Peter A. Tinsley, Smart systems and simple agents: industry pricing by parallel rules, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US), Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1996-50, 1996.
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Keywords: Prices
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