The Demand for Information: More Heat than Light
AbstractThis paper produces a comprehensive theory of the value of Bayesian information and its static demand. Our key insight is to assume 'natural units' corresponding to the sample size of conditionally i.i.d. signals -- focusing on the smooth nearby model of the precision of an observation of a Brownian motion with uncertain drift. In a two state world, this produces the heat equation from physics, and leads to a tractable theory. We derive explicit formulas that harmonize the known small and large sample properties of information, and reveal some fundamental properties of demand: (a) Value 'non-concavity': The marginal value of information is initially zero; (b) The marginal value is convex/rising, concave/peaking, then convex/falling; (c) 'Lumpiness': As prices rise, demand suddenly chokes off (drops to 0); (d) The minimum information costs on average exceed 2.5% of the payoff stakes; (e) Information demand is hill-shaped in beliefs, highest when most uncertain; (f) Information demand is initially elastic at interior beliefs; (g) Demand elasticity is globally falling in price, and approaches 0 as prices vanish; and (h) The marginal value vanishes exponentially fast in price, yielding log demand. Our results are exact for the Brownian case, and approximately true for weak discrete informative signals. We prove this with a new Bayesian approximation result.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1498.
Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Theory (January 2008), 138(1): 21-50
Note: CFP 1258.
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/
More information through EDIRC
Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Other versions of this item:
- D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- David G. Pearce & Dilip Abreu & Paul R. Milgrom, 1988.
"Information and Timing in Repeated Partnerships,"
Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers
875, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Harrison, J. Michael & Kreps, David M., 1979. "Martingales and arbitrage in multiperiod securities markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 381-408, June.
- Giuseppe Moscarini & Lones Smith, 2001. "The Optimal Level of Experimentation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1629-1644, November.
- Harrison, J. Michael & Pliska, Stanley R., 1981. "Martingales and stochastic integrals in the theory of continuous trading," Stochastic Processes and their Applications, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 215-260, August.
- Giuseppe Moscarini & Lones Smith, 2002. "The Law of Large Demand for Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2351-2366, November.
- Chade, Hector & Schlee, Edward, 2002. "Another Look at the Radner-Stiglitz Nonconcavity in the Value of Information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 421-452, December.
- Kihlstrom, Richard E, 1974. "A Bayesian Model of Demand for Information About Product Quality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 15(1), pages 99-118, February.
- Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-54, May-June.
- Fogli, Alessandra & Veldkamp, Laura, 2007.
"Nature or Nurture? Learning and Female Labour Force Dynamics,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
6324, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Alessandra Fogli & Laura Veldkamp, 2007. "Nature or nurture? learning and female labor force dynamics," Staff Report 386, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Laura Veldkamp & Alessandra Fogli, 2007. "Nature or Nurture? Learning and Female Labor Force Dynamics," 2007 Meeting Papers 1021, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Luis Cabral, 2007. "Lock in and Switch: Asymmetric Information and New Product Diffusion," Working Papers 07-11, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
- Gryglewicz, Sebastian, 2011. "A theory of corporate financial decisions with liquidity and solvency concerns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 365-384, February.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Glena Ames).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.