By JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ* The research for which George Akerlof, Michael Spence, and I are being recognized is part of a larger research program which today embraces a great number of researchers around the world. In this article, I want to set the particular work which was cited within this broader agenda, and that agenda within the still broader perspective of the history of economic thought. I hope to show that information economics represents a fundamental change in the prevailing paradigm within economics. Information economics has already had a profound effect on how we think about economic policy and is likely to have an even greater inï¬uence in the future. Many of the major policy debates over the past two decades have centered around the related issues of the efï¬ciency of the market economy and the appropriate relationship between the market and the government. The argument of Adam Smith (1776) that free markets lead to efï¬cient outcomes, âas if by an invisible hand,â has played a central role in these debates: It suggested that we could, by and large, rely on markets without government intervention (or, at most, with a limited role for government). The set of ideas
American Economic Review – American Economic Association
Published: Jun 1, 2002
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