We exploit the introduction of pedestrian countdown signals—timers
that indicate when traffic lights will change—to evaluate a policy
that improves the information of all market participants. We find
that although countdown signals reduce the number of pedestrians
struck by automobiles, they increase the number of collisions between
automobiles. They also cause more collisions overall, implying that
welfare gains can be attained by hiding the information from drivers.
Whereas most empirical studies on the role of information in markets
suggest that asymmetric information reduces welfare, we conclude that
asymmetric information can, in fact, improve it.
"Paging Inspector Sands: The Costs of Public Information." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy,
Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief
Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise