asymmetric information

noun

economics
: 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

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Dictionary Entries Near asymmetric information

Cite this Entry

“Asymmetric information.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/asymmetric%20information. Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY