Competitive Equilibria in Semi-Algebraic Economies

This paper examines the equilibrium correspondence in Arrow-Debreu exchange economies with semi-algebraic preferences. We show that a generic semi-algebraic exchange economy gives rise to a square system of polynomial equations with finitely many solutions. The competitive equilibria form a subset of the solution set and can be identified by verifying finitely many polynomial inequalities.  We apply methods from computational algebraic geometry to obtain an equivalent polynomial system of equations that essentially reduces the computation of all equilibria to finding all roots of a univariate polynomial. This polynomial can be used to determine an upper bound on the number of equilibria and to approximate all equilibria numerically.  We illustrate our results and computational method with several examples. In particular, we show that in economies with two commodities and two agents with CES utility, the number of competitive equilibria is never larger than three and that multiplicity of equilibria is rare in that it only occurs for a very small fraction of individual endowments and preference parameters.

Download Paper

Paper Number