While this volume focuses on the application of basic principles, it also extends the theory in important ways, showing the fruitfulness of Stiglitz's research strategy. In doing so, the papers set the ground for questioning some prevailing doctrines: key market phenomena cannot be explained by markets with rational expectations, even when information is imperfect. It demonstrates that how societies organize the obtainment, processing, and transmitting of information is as important as how they organize the production and distribution of goods. Indeed, the two issues are inseparable. The papers thus lay the foundations of a New Institutional Economics, not only describing how institutions (like sharecropping or banks) work and affect resource allocations, but why they arise and take on particular forms.
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