The Economics of Information in a World of Disinformation
A Survey Part 2: Direct Communication - Working Paper #0
The paper surveys the recent work on economics of information with endogenous information structures where individuals can directly communicate information with each other. We consider the theoretical work on cheap talk, Bayesian persuasion, and information design, and review the implications of information control and information abundance for mis and disinformation. The relationship between information and market power is particularly important when social media can amplify and maintain harmful fictions that lead to polarization and undermine not only markets, but democratic discourse. We review both the “rational” decision-making paradigm, as well as departures from it, such as cases where decision makers can choose what to know, can allocate their attention in different ways or have behavioral biases that influence their information processing. We note some important connections to legal and media studies and highlight key messages in nontechnical language.
About the Authors
Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD)
Joseph E. Stiglitz is President of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, and Chairman of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. He is University Professor at Columbia, teaching in its Economics Department, its Business School, and its School of International and Public Affairs. He chaired the UN Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System, created in the aftermath of the financial crisis by the President of the General Assembly. He is former Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank and Chairman of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors. He was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2001.
Andrew Kosenko is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics and Finance at the School of Management at Marist College. He received his PhD in economics from Columbia in 2018. Prior to Marist, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh.