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Pure and Actionable Information

January 1st, 2006 · No Comments

Atanu Dey distinguishes between the two types of information:

Actionable information is something that enables a decision to be made and action is prompted as a result. Pure information is something that does not result in an immediate response or action. Pure information is good to know as opposed to actionable information which is need to know. Economists may call pure information a luxury good, while actionable information is a basic good. Since the rich typically spend a greater percentage on luxury goods, and the poor a greater percentage on basic goods, it is obvious that the poor will spend relatively more on actionable information as opposed to pure information.

Examples of pure and actionable information is not independent of a person, naturally, given that information is personal. However, just to take an example, cricket scores are pure information unless you are a bookie and need to settle accounts. The price of fish at a particular market along the Kerala coast is actionable information to a fisherman out at sea because it affects his decision where to land his catch. The busy stock analyst catching up with the latest political news while commuting to work is consuming pure information, and he is willing to pay for it even though he will not take any immediate action on it. But getting news on his cell phone is a luxury that the fisherman would not be willing to pay for.

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