A Yen for Real Estate examines the political economy of Japanese foreign direct investment in real estate in the US, Australia and other countries from the mid-1980s onwards.
Investment Under Uncertainty, Coalition Spillovers And Market Evolution In A Game Theoretic Perspective
Both economists and popular writers have once more run away with some fragments of reality they happened to grasp. Joseph A. Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, 1942. 1. Rational Behaviour and Economics Never in the history of mankind has there been such unlimited belief intheabilitiesofthehumanmindasintheAgeofReasoninthe?rsthalf of the eighteenth century. The likes of Mozart, Goethe, and Rousseau ensured a new era of optimism and creativity in both the arts and the sciences. In mathematics, the theory of probability was re?ned and its laws were believed to be good descriptions of human reasoning and 1 decision making. The French Revolution was the logical conclusion of theAgeofReasonandEnlightenment. Italsobroughtaboutitspolitical and social downfall, ending in an age of terror; a victim of its own success. In the early nineteenth century, however, most ?elds of science abandoned many ideas from the era of Enlightenment. Nevertheless, in psychology and economics the probabilistic approach to describing a human being as a fully rational homo economicus remained popular as ever. 1 In Rousseau (1762, p. 97), for example, one ?nds: "Calculateurs, c'est maintenant votre a? aire; comptez, mesurez, comparez". 1 2 INVESTMENT, COALITION SPILLOVERS, AND EVOLUTION Most of contemporary economics still uses the axiom of rational e- nomic agents, where agents are believed to maximise expected utility. Expectations are often assumed to be based on objective probabilities. Expected utility with objective probabilities has been axiomatised by Von Neumann and Morgenstern (1944).
From a historical point of view, the main activity of investment banks is what today we call security underwriting. Investment banks buy securities, such as bonds and stocks, from an issuer and then sell them to the ?nal investors. In the eighteenth century, the main securities were bonds issued by governments. The way these bonds were priced and placed is extraordinarily similar to the system that inve- ment banks still use nowadays. When a government wanted to issue new bonds, it negotiated with a few prominent "middlemen" (today we would call them investment bankers). The middlemen agreed to take a fraction of the bonds: they accepted to do so only after having canvassed a list of people they could rely upon. The people on the list were the ?nal investors. The middlemen negotiated with the government even after the issuance. Indeed, in those days governments often changed unilaterally the bond conditions and being on the list of an important middleman could make the difference. On the other hand, middlemen with larger lists were considered to be in a better bargaining position. This game was repeated over time, and hence, reputation mattered. For the middlemen, being trusted by both the investors on the list and by the issuing governments was crucial.
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