Document Type


Publication Date



In retrospect, the experimental findings on competitive market behavior called for a revival of the old, classical, view of competition as a collective higgling and bargaining process (as opposed to price-taking behaviors) founded on reservation prices (in place of the utility function). In this paper, we specialize the classical methodology to deal with speculation, an important impediment to price stability. The model involves typical features of a field or lab asset market setup and lends itself to an experimental test of its specific predictions; here we use the model to explain three general stylized facts, well established both empirically and experimentally: the excess, fat-tailed, and clustered volatility of speculative asset prices. The fat tails emerge in the model from the amplifying nature of speculation, leading to a random-coefficient autoregressive return process (and power-law tails); the volatility clustering is due to the traders’ long memory of news; bubbles are a persistent phenomenon in the model, and, assuming the standard lab present value pattern, the bubble size increases with the proportion of speculators and decreases with the trading horizon.


ESI Working Paper 21-21

This paper later underwent peer review and was published in Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Finance, volume 37, in 2023.

The additional files contains the working paper version of this article. It was also previously titled "Re-tradable Assets, Speculation, and Economic Instability".

Peer Reviewed



The authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.