Info 290

Markets and Information: Ethics, Theory and Applications

3 units

Course Description

Markets exert such a ubiquitous force on our daily lives that it can be easy to disregard it, as a fish does water. At the same time, perhaps no other social concept has attracted such a wide range of views, beliefs and critiques, ranging from the idea of markets as self-organizing mechanisms to maximize welfare and happiness, to the idea of markets as a wide-ranging and destructive global force.

This seminar engages with both foundational and contemporary readings across fields such as information economics, social theory, science and technology studies, and information science to contextualize modern developments in markets and marketplaces in the history of economic thought and information. While the course pays attention to classic texts, the goal is to connect ongoing developments in markets and market design to long-standing lines of scholarship across different fields, and to place current developments in their deeper historical context.

This course examines markets as a socially and technologically produced artifact in its own right. Topics include examining the role of markets as information-processing technologies, as social and economic coordination, how markets are maintained and constructed, and concepts of fairness associated with markets and market allocation. The course ends with an examination of digital markets, blockchain technologies and ongoing concerns with digital antitrust and platform power.

Last updated:

November 7, 2023