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Optimal Degree of Public Information Dissemination

  • Cornand, Camille
  • Heinemann, Frank

Financial markets and macroeconomic environments are often characterized by positive externalities. In these environments, transparency may reduce expected welfare from an ex-ante point of view: public announcements serve as a focal point for higher-order beliefs and affect agents’ behaviour more than justified by their informational contents. Some scholars conclude that it might be better to reduce the precision of public signals or entirely withhold information. This paper shows that public information should always be provided with maximum precision, but under certain conditions not to all agents. Restricting the degree of publicity is a better-suited instrument for preventing the negative welfare effects of public announcements than restrictions on their precision are.

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Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 158.

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Date of creation: Feb 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:158
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  1. Frank Heinemann & Rosemarie Nagel & Peter Ockenfels, 2004. "The Theory of Global Games on Test: Experimental Analysis of Coordination Games with Public and Private Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1583-1599, 09.
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  3. Faust, Jon & Svensson, Lars E O, 2001. "Transparency and Credibility: Monetary Policy with Unobservable Goals," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(2), pages 369-97, May.
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  7. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 1998. "A Theory of the Onset of Currency Attacks," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1204, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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  10. Winkler, Bernhard, 2000. "Which kind of transparency? On the need for clarity in monetary policy-making," Working Paper Series 0026, European Central Bank.
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  20. 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.
  21. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  22. Cukierman, A., 2000. "Accountability, Credibility, Transparency and Stabilization Policy in the Eurosystem," Papers 2000-4, Tel Aviv.
  23. David H. Romer & Christina D. Romer, 2000. "Federal Reserve Information and the Behavior of Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 429-457, June.
  24. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
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  26. Christian Hellwig, 2002. "Public Announcements, Adjustment Delays, and the Business Cycle (November 2002)," UCLA Economics Online Papers 208, UCLA Department of Economics.
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