Wall street sign
Wall street sign

The notion that economies should normally be in equilibrium is by now well-established; equally well-established is that economies are almost never precisely in equilibrium.

Using a very general formulation, this paper shows that under dynamics that are second-order in time, a price system can remain away from equilibrium with permanent and repeating opportunities for arbitrage, even when a damping term drives the system towards equilibrium.

The paper also argues that second-order dynamic equations emerge naturally when there are heterogeneous economic actors, some behaving as active and knowledgeable arbitrageurs, and others using heuristics. The essential mechanism is that active arbitrageurs are able to repeatedly benefit from the suboptimal heuristics that govern most economic behavior.

Read the paper (external link to ArXiv.orgl)