, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 523-538
Date: 19 Apr 2006

Learning Dynamics with Private and Public Signals

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This paper studies the dynamics of learning in a model of technology adoption. Firms learn about an unknown technology by observing both private and public signals. Because of the externality associated with the public signal, the social planner has firms experiment more in the initial period of the model, relative to the market equilibrium. In certain cases, this more rapid generation of information results in the planner experimenting less in later periods of the model. In contrast, typical models with public signals result in the planner inducing more experimentation in all periods of the model relative to the market equilibrium.

I would like to thank Matt Mitchell and Tom Holmes for their advice and encouragement. I would also like to thank Thor Koeppl, Cyril Monnet, John Stevens, and Jason Cummins, and two anonymous referees for their helpful comments. This paper is the second chapter of my dissertation. The views expressed herein are my own and not necessarily those of the Bureau of Economic Analysis or the US Department of Commerce.