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Policy with Dispersed Information

  • Alessandro Pavan

    (Northwestern University)

  • George-Marios Angeletos


This paper studies optimal taxation in a class of economies in which agents have dispersed private information regarding aggregate shocks (commonly-relevant fundamentals such as aggregate productivity and demand conditions). The dispersion of information opens the door to inefficiencies that need not have obtained otherwise and that may manifest themselves in excessive non-fundamental volatility (overreaction to common noise), excessive cross-sectional dispersion (overreaction to idiosyncratic noise), or suboptimal social learning (low quality of information contained in financial prices, macroeconomic data, and other indicators of economic activity). In either case, a novel role for policy emerges. We thus seek to identify policies that permit the government to manipulate how agents utilize their various sources of information, without requiring the government to monitor these sources of information. Our key result is that this can be achieved by appropriately designing the contingency of marginal taxes on aggregate activity. This contingency is not essential when agents have private information regarding only idiosyncratic shocks, but becomes essential once agents have private information regarding aggregate shocks. It permits the government to control the reaction of the economy to noise, as well as to improve the quality of information in prices and macro data.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2008 Meeting Papers with number 1103.

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Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed008:1103
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
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  1. Vives, X., 1990. "How Fast Do Rational Agents Learn?," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 135-90, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
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  4. Bartosz Mackowiak & Mirko Wiederholt, 2004. "Optimal Sticky Prices under Rational Inattention," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2005-040, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, revised Jul 2005.
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  6. Mauro Roca, 2010. "Transparency and Monetary Policy with Imperfect Common Knowledge," IMF Working Papers 10/91, International Monetary Fund.
  7. George-Marios Angeletos & Alessandro Pavan, 2006. "Socially Optimal Coordination: Characterization and Policy Implications," NBER Working Papers 12778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2005. "Central Bank Transparency and the Signal Value of Prices," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 36(2), pages 1-66.
  10. Amador, Manuel & Weill, Pierre-Olivier, 2006. "Learning from Private and Public Observation of Other's Actions," MPRA Paper 109, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Camille Cornand & Romain Baeriswyl, 2006. "Monetary Policy and its Informative Value," FMG Discussion Papers dp569, Financial Markets Group.
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  13. 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.
  14. Guido Lorenzoni, 2009. "A Theory of Demand Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 2050-84, December.
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  17. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
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  19. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
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  22. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
  23. George-Marios Angeletos & Guido Lorenzoni & Alessandro Pavan, 2007. "Wall Street and Silicon Valley: A Delicate Interaction," NBER Working Papers 13475, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Vives, Xavier, 1988. "Aggregation of Information in Large Cournot Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 851-76, July.
  25. Narayana R Kocherlakota, 2005. "Advances in Dynamic Optimal Taxation," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000518, UCLA Department of Economics.
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