Project Management

Markets for Information: Of Inefficient Firewalls and Efficient Monopolies

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Executive Summary

This paper studies, within a formal model, market environments where information is costly to acquire and is of use also to potential competitors. Agents may then sell, or buy, reports - of unverifiable quality - over the information acquired and choose the trades in the market on the basis of what they learnt. The paper finds that, in equilibrium, information is acquired when its costs are not too high and in that case it is also sold, though reports are typically noisy. Also, the market for information tends to be a monopoly, and there is inefficiency given by underinvestment in information acquisition.

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