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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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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10391.

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Date of creation: Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Angeletos, George-Marios and Alessandro Pavan. "Transparency Of Information And Coordination In Economies With Investment Complementarities," American Economic Review, 2004, v94(2,May), 91-98.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10391
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  1. Canzoneri, Matthew B, 1985. "Monetary Policy Games and the Role of Private Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1056-70, December.
  2. George-Marios Angeletos & Alessandro Pavan, 2004. "Transparency of Information and Coordination in Economies with Investment Complementarities," Discussion Papers 1494, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Acemoglu, Daron, 1993. "Learning about Others' Actions and the Investment Accelerator," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(417), pages 318-28, March.
  4. Benhabib, J. & Farmer, R.E.A, 1991. "Indeterminacy and Increasing Returns," Papers 165, Cambridge - Risk, Information & Quantity Signals.
  5. Michael Woodford, 2001. "Imperfect Common Knowledge and the Effects of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 8673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Bryant, John, 1983. "A Simple Rational Expectations Keynes-Type Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 525-28, August.
  8. George-Marios Angeletos & Christian Hellwig & Alessandro Pavan, 2004. "Coordination and Policy Traps," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000294, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2001. "The advantage of transparent instruments of monetary policy," Working Papers 614, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
  11. 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.
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