asymmetric information


: information relating to a transaction in which one party has relevant information that is not known by or available to the other party
Writing in an economics text about variances in the prices paid for art, [Steven] Cheung wrote that "asymmetric information," when one party knows more than the other, causes deceptive and unfair conduct. Buyers lacking information judge the quality by price, he wrote, and a "phony high price" was "often encountered in the arts market."Duff Wilson, Seattle Times, 27 Jan. 2003
Unlike buying a piece of fruit or a shirt, where customers know exactly what they are purchasing, in markets with asymmetric information buyers do not know whether they are receiving the service or product that is in their best interest.Charles Scott et al., Baltimore Sun, 29 Mar. 2010
compare adverse selection

Word History

First Known Use

1980, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of asymmetric information was in 1980

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Cite this Entry

“Asymmetric information.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2024.

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