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Ants, Rationality, and Recruitment

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  • Kirman, Alan

Abstract

This paper offers an explanation of behavior that puzzled entomologists and economists. Ants, faced with two identical food sources, were observed to concentrate more on one of these but, after a period, they would turn their attention to the other. The same phenomenon has been observed in humans choosing between restaurants. After discussing the nature of foraging and recruitment behavior in ants, a simple model of stochastic recruitment is suggested. This explains the "herding" and "epidemics" described in the literature on financial markets as corresponding to the equilibrium distributio n of a stochastic process rather than to switching between multiple equilibria. Copyright 1993, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 108 (1993)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 137-56

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:108:y:1993:i:1:p:137-56

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Blog mentions

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  1. Avis de recherche...
    by SM in Econoclaste on 2006-01-08 17:40:37
  2. How Ant Foraging Can Explain Herding & Epidemics
    by Miguel in Simoleon Sense on 2010-09-04 16:51:30
  3. Notes from beneath the duvet
    by Diane Coyle in The Enlightened Economist on 2012-05-05 12:53:26
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