# How to find the Walrasian equilibrium for non monotonic utility functions?

I just say Amit's comment on this question: The second welfare theorem without monotonicity so I got curious and tried to find both the contract curve for that particular problem, and the Walrasian equilibria when both agents have the endowments $$(w_x,w_y)=(2,2)$$.

The problem regarding Amit's comment is

$$u_i(x_i,y_i) = - (x_i-1)^2 - (y_i-1)^2$$

$$w_x = 4$$

$$w_y = 4$$

Since the utility function (in this case the same one for both agents) is differentiable everywhere and non linear, using $$MRS_1 = MRS_2$$ and the endowment constraints gives me the contract curve. Doing this procedure I got that the contract curve is $$y_1 = x_1$$.

Clearly the allocation $$((x_1,y_1),(x_2,y_2)) = ((2,2),(2,2))$$ belongs to the contract curve.

However, Amit said in his comment that the alocation $$((x_1,y_1),(x_2,y_2)) = ((2,2),(2,2))$$ is not a competitive equilibrium.

My curiosity led me to do the experiment of trying to find the Walrasian Equilibrium for the problem above, given the endowments as the allocation $$((w_{x1},w_{y1}),(w_{x2},w_{y2})) = ((2,2),(2,2))$$.

I started computing the consumers' demands as usual.

Since both consumers have the same utility function and endowments, solving this optimization problem would yield me the demand functions for both consumers:

$$\max -(x-1)^2-(y-1)^2$$

s.t. $$p_x x + p_y y = 2 p_x + 2 p_y$$

Using the $$MRS = \frac{p_x}{p_y}$$ shortcut,

$$\frac{\frac{\partial u_i}{\partial x}}{\frac{\partial u_i}{\partial y}} = \frac{p_x}{p_y} \implies \frac{-2 (x-1)}{-2(y-1)} = \frac{p_x}{p_y} \implies \frac{x-1}{y-1} = \frac{p_x}{p_y} \implies x-1 = \frac{p_x}{p_y}(y-1) \implies x = \frac{p_x}{p_y} (y-1) + 1$$

$$\implies x = \frac{p_x}{p_y} y - \frac{p_x}{p_y} + 1$$

Plugging this expression for $$x$$ into the budget constraint,

$$p_x (\frac{p_x}{p_y} y - \frac{p_x}{p_y} + 1) + p_y y = 2 p_x + 2 p_y \implies \frac{{p_x}^2}{p_y} y - \frac{{p_x}^2}{p_y} + p_x + p_y y = 2 p_x + 2 p_y$$

$$\implies (\frac{{p_x}^2}{p_y} + p_y) y = 2 p_x + 2 p_y + \frac{{p_x}^2}{p_y} - p_x \implies y = \frac{2 p_x + 2 p_y + \frac{{p_x}^2}{p_y} - p_x}{\frac{{p_x}^2}{p_y} + p_y}$$

For simplicity let's take as numeraire $$p_y = 1$$

$$\implies y = \frac{2 p_x + 2 + {p_x}^2 - p_x}{{p_x}^2 + 1}$$

Simplifying to get the demands for good $$y$$

$${y_1}^\star = {y_2}^\star = \frac{{p_x}^2 + p_x + 2}{{p_x}^2 + 1}$$

The previous expression for $$x$$ after taking into account $$p_y = 1$$ is the numeraire becomes

$$x = p_x y - p_x + 1$$

Substituting the demand for $$y$$ into this expression

$$\implies x = p_x (\frac{{p_x}^2 + p_x + 2}{{p_x}^2 + 1} - 1) + 1 \implies x = p_x \cdot \frac{{p_x}^2 + p_x + 2 - {p_x}^2 - 1}{{p_x}^2 + 1} + 1 \implies x = p_x \cdot \frac{p_x + 1}{{p_x}^2 + 1} + 1 \implies x = \frac{{p_x}^2 + p_x + {p_x}^2 + 1}{{p_x}^2 + 1} \implies {x_1}^\star = {x_2}^\star = \frac{2 {p_x}^2 + p_x + 1}{{p_x}^2 + 1}$$

The equilibrium condition on good $$y$$ is

$${y_1}^\star + {y_2}^\star = 4 \implies 2 \cdot \frac{{p_x}^2 + p_x + 2}{{p_x}^2 + 1} = 4 \implies \frac{{p_x}^2 + p_x + 2}{{p_x}^2 + 1} = 2 \implies {p_x}^2 + p_x + 2 = 2 {p_x}^2 + 2 \implies p_x = {p_x}^2$$

$$\implies {p_x}^2 - p_x = 0 \implies p_x (p_x - 1) = 0$$

From here we get $$p_x = 1$$ or $$p_x = 0$$.

Substituting $$p_x = 0$$ into the equilibrium condition for good $$x$$ yields a contradiction, while $$p_x = 1$$ works.

Therefore, $${p_x}^\star = 1$$ is the only equilibrium relative price.

Substituting $${p_x}^\star = 1$$ into each demand function yields the allocation $$((x_1,y_1),(x_2,y_2)) = ((2,2),(2,2))$$

This would imply that $$((x_1,y_1),(x_2,y_2)) = ((2,2),(2,2))$$ is the equilibrium allocation supported by the relative prices $$\frac{{p_x}^\star}{{p_y}^\star} = 1$$, contradicting Amit's comment.

Is it wrong to apply any of the usual methods for non monotonic utility functions?

I plotted the situation on GeoGebra, which makes it seem like my results are correct:

Geogebra's axes: Agent A's axes

Orange axes: Agent B's axes

Purple line: Contract curve

Blue points: Bliss point for each agent, as the labels say

Red circle: A's indifference curve

Black circle: B's indifference curve

Green line: Price line $$\frac{{p_x}^\star}{{p_y}^\star} = 1$$, passing through the allocation $$((x_1,y_1),(x_2,y_2)) = ((2,2),(2,2))$$, which is indeed tangent to both agents' indifference curves.

Set of Pareto efficient allocations (or contract curve) is the set of all feasible allocations satisfying $$1 \leq x_1=y_1\leq 3$$. This is the line segment connecting points A and B in your graph.
Also, given the prices $$(p_X^*, p_Y^*)=(1,1)$$, and endowment $$((2,2),(2,2))$$, the budget constraint of the consumers is $$p_X^*x_i+p_Y^*y_i\leq 2+2=4$$, and therefore, consumers will demand their bliss points i.e. both will demand the bundle $$(1,1)$$ and $$((2,2),(2,2))$$ is not a competitive equilibrium allocation.
• I just checked and it was clear for me why the points where $x_1 < 1$ and $x_1 > 3$ are not Pareto efficient. Is the systematic way to find the CC for non-monotonic (differentiable and non-linear) utilities is to always do the usual $MRS$ procedure and then check by cases? Apr 10, 2023 at 6:36