IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Information and Capital Markets


  • Joseph E. Stiglitz


This paper provides the foundations of a general theory of information and the capital market. We show that in a pure gambling market, even with asymmetric information, there cannot exist an equilibrium with trade with rational individuals. We argue that although a pure exchange stock market is not a pure gambling market, most of the trade on the stock market arises from irrationality on the part of some investors and the rational response on the part of other investors to take advantage of that irrationality. We show that the private returns to information acquisition and dissemination differ markedly from social returns and as a result the market equilibrium is not a (constrained) Pareto optimum. Moreover, we show how firms' actions, e.g. the fraction of shares retained by the original entrepreneurs, the debt equity ratio, and the level of investment, may convey information about firm characteristics. This in turn affects the behavior of firms. As a result, the original owners of firms will be incompletely diversified, firms will not take actions which maximize their stock market value, and, in particular, they may behave in a risk averse manner, paying attention to own risk (which traditional theory suggests that the only risk firms should care about is the correlation with the market).

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1981. "Information and Capital Markets," NBER Working Papers 0678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0678
    Note: ME

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Swinnen, Johan F. M. & Gow, Hamish R., 1999. "Agricultural credit problems and policies during the transition to a market economy in Central and Eastern Europe," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 21-47, February.
    2. Felipe Zurita, 2004. "Essays on Speculation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000849, David K. Levine.
    3. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1986. "The General Theory of Tax Avoidance," NBER Working Papers 1868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Pardy, Robert, 1992. "Institutional reform in emerging securities markets," Policy Research Working Paper Series 907, The World Bank.
    5. Hellmann, Thomas & Stiglitz, Joseph, 2000. "Credit and equity rationing in markets with adverse selection," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 281-304, February.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0678. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.