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Efficiency and Welfare with Complementarities and Asymmetric Information

  • George-Marios Angeletos
  • Alessandro Pavan

This paper examines equilibrium and welfare in a tractable class of economies with externalities, strategic complementarity or substitutability, and incomplete information. In equilibrium, complementarity amplifies aggregate volatility by increasing the sensitivity of actions to public information; substitutability raises cross-sectional dispersion by increasing the sensitivity to private information. To address whether these effects are undesirable from a welfare perspective, we characterize the socially optimal degree of coordination and the efficient use of information. We show how efficient allocations depend on the primitives of the environment, how they compare to equilibrium, and how they can be understood in terms of a social trade-off between volatility and dispersion. We next examine the social value of information in equilibrium. When the equilibrium is efficient, welfare necessarily increases with the accuracy of information; and it increases [decreases] with the extent to which information is common if and only if agents' actions are strategic complements [substitutes]. When the equilibrium is inefficient, additional effects emerge as information affects the gap between equilibrium and efficient allocations. We conclude with a few applications, including production externalities, Keynesian frictions, inefficient fluctuations, and efficient market competition.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11826.

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Date of creation: Dec 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11826
Note: EFG
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  1. Bengt Holmstrom & Roger B. Myerson, 1981. "Efficient and Durable Decision Rules with Incomplete Information," Discussion Papers 495, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. 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.
  3. Michael Woodford, 2005. "Central bank communication and policy effectiveness," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Aug, pages 399-474.
  4. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1971. "The Private and Social Value of Information and the Reward to Inventive Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(4), pages 561-74, September.
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  12. Mauro Roca, 2010. "Transparency and Monetary Policy with Imperfect Common Knowledge," IMF Working Papers 10/91, International Monetary Fund.
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  18. Laffont, Jean-Jacques M, 1985. "On the Welfare Analysis of Rational Expectations Equilibria with Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(1), pages 1-29, January.
  19. Daron Acemoglu, 1992. "Learning about Others Actions and the Investment Accelerator," CEP Discussion Papers dp0072, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  20. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1992. "A Simple Model of Sectoral Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 375-88, April.
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  22. Petra M. Geraats, 2002. "Central Bank Transparency," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 532-565, November.
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