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Transparency of Information and Coordination in Economies with Investment Complementarities

  • George-Marios Angeletos
  • Alessandro Pavan

How do public and private information affect equilibrium allocations and social welfare in economies with investment complementarities? And what is the optimal transparency in the information conveyed, for example, by economic statistics, policy announcements, or news in the media? We first consider an environment where the complementarities are weak so that the equilibrium is unique no matter the structure of information. An increase in the precision of public information may have the perverse effect of increasing aggregate volatility. Nevertheless, as long as there is no value to lotteries, welfare unambiguously increases with an increase in either the relative or the absolute precision of public information. Hence, full transparency is optimal. This is because more transparency facilitates more effective coordination, which is valuable from a social perspective. On the other hand, when complementarities are strong enough that multiple equilibria are possible, more transparency permits the market to coordinate more effectively on either the bad or the good equilibrium. In this case, constructive ambiguity becomes optimal if there is a high risk that more transparency will lead to coordination failures.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 94 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 91-98

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:94:y:2004:i:2:p:91-98
Note: DOI: 10.1257/0002828041301641
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  1. George-Marios Angeletos & Alessandro Pavan, 2004. "Transparency of Information and Coordination in Economies with Investment Complementarities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 91-98, May.
  2. Cooper, Russell & John, Andrew, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-63, August.
  3. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1986. "A Theory of Ambiguity, Credibility, and Inflation under Discretion and Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1099-1128, September.
  4. Bryant, John, 1983. "A Simple Rational Expectations Keynes-Type Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 525-28, August.
  5. Benhabib, J. & Farmer, R.E.A, 1991. "Indeterminacy and Increasing Returns," Papers 165, Cambridge - Risk, Information & Quantity Signals.
  6. George-Marios Angeletos & Christian Hellwig & Alessandro Pavan, 2004. "Coordination and Policy Traps," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000294, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Matthew B. Canzoneri, 1983. "Monetary policy games and the role of private information," International Finance Discussion Papers 249, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Imperfect Common Knowledge and the Effects of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 8673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
  10. Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2001. "The Advantage of Transparent Instruments of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 8681, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Daron Acemoglu, 1992. "Learning about Others Actions and the Investment Accelerator," CEP Discussion Papers dp0072, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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