In information economics, information has economic value because it allows an agent to make better decisions. For example if an agent needs to buy some good, he will benefit from knowing about the existence of all possible sellers since he will be able to buy at the lowest price.

I was wondering if there is work in economics that takes this view to the extreme and considers that the price of a good/service entirely reflects the absence of information about this good/service (to simplify it would be the sum of “not knowing how to efficiently manufacture this” + “not knowing where to get the raw material”)

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    $\begingroup$ What if I know everything needed to produce the good/service but I am unwilling to sacrifice the needed time? In this case it seems the value of time cannot be explained by lack of information. $\endgroup$
    – Giskard
    Oct 26, 2019 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ I guess this is a valid point on the demand side (I can buy an overpriced good/service if it would cost me more to spend time making it), but on the supply side if I see that some good is systematically overpriced I can enter the market as a competitor and sell at a lower price. $\endgroup$
    – A. Sab
    Oct 26, 2019 at 15:19
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    $\begingroup$ On the supply side you're leaving out the effort and capital costs of production. It would be pretty hard to frame these all as information costs unless you're suggesting that every product has a way to make it for free we just don't know about. $\endgroup$
    – NickCHK
    Oct 26, 2019 at 21:32
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think you will find someone so heterodox that they believe ONLY information contributes to price. Information is a good, and people are willing to pay for it, but prices for other things reflect much else about the supply and demand for those goods. $\endgroup$
    – Kitsune Cavalry
    Nov 27, 2019 at 20:59

2 Answers 2


It's a deeper discussion, but you could argue that profits reflect information disparities between agents. However, in the most idealized circumstance, prices themselves arise from scarcity resulting from physical constraints of the system, not informational constraints.


When barriers to entry are low that is the case. If I have a 3d printer and materials then anything I make is just information based.

As markets become more efficient and barriers fall this gets more obvious.

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    $\begingroup$ "If I have a 3d printer and materials" But materials are not free. Neither is energy. And there are millions of things that you cannot print with current technology. Perhaps you mean "if I am omnipotent". $\endgroup$
    – Giskard
    Oct 31, 2019 at 8:43
  • $\begingroup$ And mass production techniques are usually cheaper than 3D printing. Probably Chinese Plastic Widgets Corp can make plastic widgets cheaper than you can, because they use injection molding. $\endgroup$ Nov 28, 2019 at 12:54

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