David Myatt (Oxford University), “On the Sources and Value of Information: Public Announcements and Macroeconomic Performance”, Economic Theory Seminar, Toulouse: TSE, November 10, 2009, 11:00–12:30, room MF 323.
In the context of macroeconomic coordination, studies of the social value of information distinguish sharply between private and public information. However, no information is truly public (that is, common knowledge) or truly private in the established sense. Building upon a Lucas-Phelps island-economy model, this paper allows for many informative signals each of which incorporates elements of both public and private information. A measure of relative publicity determines a signal’s equilibrium use and its impact on macroeconomic performance: output gaps open up when signals differ in their publicity, because such differences drive a wedge between price-formation and expectations-formation processes. Turning to the effect of public announcements, it is never optimal to withhold information completely, nor is it optimal to release perfectly public (or, indeed, perfectly private) information. Instead, when perfect communication is feasible, limited clarity helps to stabilise output.