|Overview: Dispersed Knowledge|
|Definition||Information about a topic or situation that is fragmented amongst many isolated sources.|
|Related Concepts||Information Asymmetry|
What is Dispersed Knowledge?
John Spacey, updated on February 25, 2016
Dispersed knowledge is a situation in which information about a topic is fragmented amongst many sources with no authoritative source of truth. It is often described with an old folktale from the Indian subcontinent in which a group of blind men try to figure out what an elephant is by touching different parts of the animal only to reach dramatically different conclusions. It is common for dispersed knowledge to exist in fast moving situations such as a financial market. A company insider may know about a firm's recent deals. A banker may know about financing conditions that are tightening in the firm's industry. A customer on the street may notice that customer service at the company has declined significantly. A supplier may notice that the firm is refusing to make payments and cutting back on orders. This fragmented knowledge creates uncertainty in markets as no single investor has universal information at any given point in time. It is tempting for all parties to assume that someone else has better information.
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