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rational inattention


  • Mirko Wiederholt


Economists have studied for a long time how decision-makers allocate scarce resources. The recent literature on rational inattention studies how decision-makers allocate the scarce resource attention. The idea is that decision-makers have a limited amount of attention and have to decide how to allocate it. The literature on rational inattention argues that the optimal allocation of attention by decision-makers can explain important features of economic data.

Suggested Citation

  • Mirko Wiederholt, 2010. "rational inattention," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics,, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:dofeco:v:4:year:2010:doi:3841

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    Cited by:

    1. Lawrence Christiano & Mathias Trabandt & Karl Walentin, . "Involuntary Unemployment and the Business Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Anton A. Cheremukhin & Anna Popova & Antonella Tutino, 2011. "Experimental evidence on rational inattention," Working Papers 1112, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    3. Drakos, Konstantinos & Konstantinou, Panagiotis Th. & Thoma, Foteini-Anna, 2020. "Inflation uncertainty and inflation expectations: Micro-level evidence from the eurozone," The Journal of Economic Asymmetries, Elsevier, vol. 21(C).
    4. Antonella Tutino, 2013. "Rationally inattentive consumption choices," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(3), pages 421-439, July.
    5. Cellini, Roberto & Lambertini, Luca & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I.P., 2020. "Strategic inattention, delegation and endogenous market structure," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 121(C).
    6. Maćkowiak, Bartosz & Wiederholt, Mirko, 2018. "Lack of preparation for rare events," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 35-47.
    7. Ueno, Yuko, 2014. "Updating Behavior of Inflation Expectations: Evidence from Japanese Household Panel Data," CIS Discussion paper series 617, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    8. Kristoffer P. Nimark, 2014. "Man-Bites-Dog Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(8), pages 2320-2367, August.
    9. Duffy, Sean & Smith, John, 2014. "Cognitive load in the multi-player prisoner's dilemma game: Are there brains in games?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 47-56.
    10. Martin, Daniel, 2017. "Strategic pricing with rational inattention to quality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 131-145.
    11. Cheremukhin, Anton & Popova, Anna & Tutino, Antonella, 2015. "A theory of discrete choice with information costs," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 34-50.
    12. Lieder, Falk & Griffiths, Tom & Hsu, Ming, 2016. "Over-representation of extreme events in decision-making reflects rational use of cognitive resources," OSF Preprints kxxag, Center for Open Science.
    13. Allred, Sarah & Duffy, Sean & Smith, John, 2016. "Cognitive load and strategic sophistication," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 162-178.
    14. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Trabandt, Mathias & Walentin, Karl, 2010. "DSGE Models for Monetary Policy Analysis," Handbook of Monetary Economics, in: Benjamin M. Friedman & Michael Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Monetary Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 7, pages 285-367, Elsevier.
    15. Kohlhas, Alexandre N., 2020. "An informational rationale for action over disclosure," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 187(C).
    16. Maćkowiak, Bartosz & Matějka, Filip & Wiederholt, Mirko, 2018. "Dynamic rational inattention: Analytical results," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 650-692.

    More about this item


    attention; attention allocation; business cycles; consumption; dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE); entropy; expectations; finance; fiscal policy; general equilibrium; imperfect information; incomplete information; information; information choice; information flow; information friction; information processing; information theory; interest rate; learning; limited; attention; macroeconomics; monetary policy; noisy signal; nominal rigidities; portfolio choice; price setting; rational inattention; savings; Sims; C. A.; sticky prices; uncertainty;

    JEL classification:

    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets


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