Monday, December 7, 2009

Information Asymmetries and Exchange

I believe that "economic thinking" can be used to explain a lot of "non-economic" phenomena. This came to mind while I was listening to an episode of This American Life on my public radio station this past weekend. The episode was about mind games, and I only listened to the first two segments. What struck me was that there were social exchanges going on that were caused by deliberate information asymmetries. If this kind of deception were going on in "the marketplace", many of us would cry "fraud." We might even demand retribution, compensation, or "justice." My question for you and your students, what is our reaction in the social arena?

I would welcome your comments.

1 comment:

Jafnar said...

To your point of economic thinking explaining non economic phenomena, I was teaching the Coase theorem and it's consequence on externalities and found that children use this at a very early age to handle sibling friction.
Generally the older sibling bribes (pays) the younger one to turn off sponge bob so he/she can study. She accepted the younger one's property right to sponge bob and the market took care of the rest.