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Shared knowledge
Rodríguez Mora, José V.
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
Agents use their knowledge on the history of the economy in orderto choose what is the optimal action to take at any given moment of time,but each individual observes history with some noise. This paper showsthat the amount of information available on the past evolution of theeconomy is an endogenous variable, and that this leads to overconcentrationof the investment, which can be interpreted as underinvestment in research.It presents a model in which agents have to invest at each period in one of$K$ sectors, each of them paying an exogenous return that follows a welldefined stochastic path. At any moment of time each agent receives an unbiasednoisy signal on the payoff of each sector. The signals differ across agents,but all of them have the same variance, which depends on the aggregate investmentin that particular sector (so that if almost everybody invests in it theperceptions of everybody will be very accurate, but if almost nobody doesthe perceptions of everybody will be very noisy). The degree of hetereogeneityacross agents is then an endogenous variable, evolving across time determining,and being determined by, the amount of information disclosed.As long as both the level of social interaction and the underlying precisionof the observations are relatively large agents behave in a very preciseway. This behavior is unmodified for a huge range of informational parameters,and it is characterized by an excessive concentration of the investment ina few sectors. Additionally the model shows that generalized improvements in thequality of the information that each agent gets may lead to a worse outcomefor all the agents due to the overconcentration of the investment that thisproduces.
11-07-2013
Macroeconomics and International Economics
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