The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Spence, A. Michael (Born 1943)

  • Edward Lazear
Reference work entry


Michael Spence is a pioneer in the economics of information. His most famous work is on signalling. Spence’s fundamental insight is that individuals can take actions that provide information to others, even though the actions themselves have no effect on productivity or on that which is desired by the buyer. This work has proven fundamental to understanding phenomena ranging from education to advertising.


Adverse selection Advertising Akerlof, G. Asymmetric information Education Information economics Productivity R&D subsidies Signaling Spence, A. M. Statistical discrimination 

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  1. Akerlof, G. 1970. The market for ‘lemons’: Quality uncertainty and the market mechanism. Quarterly Journal of Economics 84: 488–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Lazear, E. 1986. Salaries and piece rates. Journal of Business 59: 405–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward Lazear
    • 1
  1. 1.