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The Contributions of the Economics of Information to Twentieth Century Economics

Joseph E. Stiglitz
The Quarterly Journal of Economics
Vol. 115, No. 4 (Nov., 2000), pp. 1441-1478
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2586930
Page Count: 38
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The Contributions of the Economics of Information to Twentieth Century Economics
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Abstract

In the field of economics, perhaps the most important break with the past--one that leaves open huge areas for future work--lies in the economics of information. It is now recognized that information is imperfect, obtaining information can be costly, there are important asymmetries of information, and the extent of information asymmetries is affected by actions of firms and individuals. This recognition deeply affects the understanding of wisdom inherited from the past, such as the fundamental welfare theorem and some of the basic characterization of a market economy, and provides explanations of economic and social phenomena that otherwise would be hard to understand.

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