Convergence of outcomes and evolution of strategic behavior in double auctions
We study the emergence of strategic behavior in double auctions with an equal number of buyers and sellers, under the distinct assumptions that orders are cleared simultaneously or asynchronously. The evolution of strategic behavior is modeled as a learning process driven by a genetic algorithm. We find that, as the size of the market grows, allocative inefficiency tends to zero and performance converges to the competitive outcome, regardless of the order-clearing rule. The main result concerns the evolution of strategic behavior as the size of the market gets larger. Under simultaneous order-clearing, only marginal traders learn to be price takers and make offers equal to their valuations/costs. Under asynchronous order-clearing, all intramarginal traders learn to be price makers and make offers equal to the competitive equilibrium price. The nature of the order-clearing rule affects in a fundamental way what kind of strategic behavior we should expect to emerge.