Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-2018

Abstract

Apparently contradictory evidence has accumulated regarding the extent to which financial markets are informationally efficient. Shedding new light on this old debate, we show that differences in the distribution of private information may explain why informational efficiency can vary greatly across markets. We find that markets are informationally efficient when complete information is concentrated in the hands of competing insiders whereas they are less efficient when private information is dispersed across traders. A learning model helps to illustrate why inferring others’ private information from prices takes more time when information is more dispersed. We discuss the implications of our findings for understanding the potential consequences of lowering the cost of information on the informational efficiency of markets.

Comments

Working Paper 18-09

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