Inspired by the debate on the role of rating agencies in the recent financial crisis, additional to the private information we introduce an imperfect public signal. The study of the interplay between public and private information constitutes our contribution to the experimental literature on laboratory financial markets. In particular, in this paper we study the perturbation created by the introduction of a public signal on the information acquisition process and on the price efficiency in transmitting information. We conclude that the public signal might drive the market price if private information is not of good quality, leaving the financial market in “the hands” of the institution which releases the public information.
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