Welfare effects of public information
What are the welfare effects of enhanced disclosures of public information – Is it always the case, that frequent and timely publication of economic statistics by government agencies and the central bank are desirable – This question has become one of several interlinked strands of debate on the desirability of transparency in hte conduct of monetary policy. Here we put to the test the presumption that greater disclosures of public information is always welfare enhancing. We examine the impact of public information in a setting where a principal provides public information to private sector agents. The principal's interest is in inducing the agents to take actions that are appropriate to the fundamentals. The agents, too, are motivated to take actions appropriate to the underlying state, but they also have a coordination motive arising from a strategic complementarity in their actions. When there is perfect information concerning the underlying state, there is no conflict of interest between the principal and the agents. However, when there is imperfect information, the welfare effects of increased public disclosures is more equivocal.
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