Economists have always recognised that human endeavours are constrained by our limited and uncertain knowledge, but only recently has an accepted theory of uncertainty and information evolved. This theory has turned out to have surprisingly practical applications: for example in analysing stock market returns, in evaluating accident prevention measures, and in assessing patent and copyright laws. This book presents these intellectual advances in readable form for the first time. It unifies many important but partial results into a satisfying single picture, making it clear how the economics of uncertainty and information generalises and extends standard economic analysis. Part One of the volume covers the economics of uncertainty: how each person adapts to a given fixed state of knowledge by making an optimal choice among the immediate 'terminal' actions available. These choices in turn determine the overall market equilibrium reflecting the social distribution of risk bearing. In Part Two, covering the economics of information, the state of knowledge is no longer held fixed. Instead, individuals can to a greater or lesser extent overcome their ignorance by 'informational' actions.
The text also addresses at appropriate points many specific topics such as insurance, the Capital Asset Pricing model, auctions, deterrence of entry, and research and invention.