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Although various typologies of goods are commonly adopted in economics, one stood out in market experiment results contrasting market stability and efficiency with market instability: non-durable, or perishable, goods (Smith, 1962) versus durable re-tradable assets (Smith et al., 1988; Dickhaut et al., 2012; S. D. Gjerstad et al., 2015). This dichotomy of goods also proved central for understanding macroeconomic instability more broadly: about 75% of consumer spending is bought for final consumption, and is a rock of stability; instability arises from the other 25% re-tradable goods, most prominently, houses (S. D. Gjerstad & Smith, 2014). In this chapter, we revisit this well-known but underappreciated dichotomy of goods in the light of our theory of classical competitive price formation. We also emphasize the fundamental and unifying nature of the concept of asset re-tradability as a general concept in finance: the concept of asset re-tradability allows for a simple, transparent, and unified treatment of the no-arbitrage and no-trade theorems of neoclassical finance.


ESI Working Paper 22-01

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May 31 2022



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