DP5147 Revolutionary Effects of New Information Technologies

Author(s): Gerard van den Berg
Publication Date: July 2005
Keyword(s): heterogeneity, imperfect information, informational frictions, internet, price convergence, production technology
JEL(s): D43, D83, J42, L11, L15, L86, O33
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=5147

In markets with imperfect information and heterogeneity, the information technology affects the rate at which agents meet, which in turn affects the distribution of production technologies across firms. We show that in models for such markets there are typically multiple equilibria because reservation utility levels and the lowest production technology in use affect each other. The adoption of novel information technologies may then entail a revolution in the sense of a move from an inefficient to an efficient equilibrium. Inefficient production technologies are removed even in sectors where the new information technology has only recently been introduced. The effect is much larger than a marginal comparative-statics effect on a given equilibrium. The results apply to markets for consumer products, labour, intermediate goods, and (public) institutional services.