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A welfare analysis of "junk" information and spam filters


Falkinger, Josef (2008). A welfare analysis of "junk" information and spam filters. Working paper series / Socioeconomic Institute No. 811, University of Zurich.

Abstract

This paper analyses the equilibrium effects of individual information filters. Information is modelled as advertisements which are distributed across a population of consumers with heterogeneous preferences. An advertisement that provides knowledge about a product with little or no utility for a consumer is considered junk. Filters are characterised by their level of tolerance. The quality of the filter is measured in terms of the share of useful items in the total set of items passing the filter. It is shown that in conditions of decentralised competition, multiple equilibria arise. A social optimum can be achieved by demanding each consumer to reject a certain percentage of advertisements, leaving the choice of what is rejected up to the consumer him/herself.

This paper analyses the equilibrium effects of individual information filters. Information is modelled as advertisements which are distributed across a population of consumers with heterogeneous preferences. An advertisement that provides knowledge about a product with little or no utility for a consumer is considered junk. Filters are characterised by their level of tolerance. The quality of the filter is measured in terms of the share of useful items in the total set of items passing the filter. It is shown that in conditions of decentralised competition, multiple equilibria arise. A social optimum can be achieved by demanding each consumer to reject a certain percentage of advertisements, leaving the choice of what is rejected up to the consumer him/herself.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Socioeconomic Institute (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:D83, L86, M38, D18
Language:English
Date:October 2008
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 22:47
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:12
Series Name:Working paper series / Socioeconomic Institute
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-52398

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