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An Experimental Test of Advice and Social Learning

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  • Boðaçhan Çelen
  • Shachar Kariv
  • Andrew Schotter

Abstract

Social learning describes any situation in which individuals learn by observing the behavior of others. In the real world, however, individuals learn not just by observing the actions of others but also from seeking advice. This paper introduces advice giving into the standard social-learning experiment of Çelen and Kariv (Çelen, B., S. Kariv. 2005. An experimental test of observational learning under imperfect information. Econom. Theory 26(3) 677-699). The experiments are designed so that both pieces of information--action and advice--are equally informative (in fact, identical) in equilibrium. Despite the informational equivalence of advice and actions, we find that subjects in a laboratory social-learning situation appear to be more willing to follow the advice given to them by their predecessor than to copy their action, and that the presence of advice increases subjects' welfare.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 784828000000000272.

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Date of creation: 27 Mar 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:784828000000000272

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  1. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-51, November.
  2. Jacob Goeree & Thomas Palfrey & Brian Rogers, 2004. "Self-Correcting Information Cascades," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000153, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Yaw Nyarko & Andrew Schotter & Barry Sopher, 2006. "On the informational content of advice: a theoretical and experimental study," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 433-452, October.
  4. Lones Smith & Peter Sorensen, 2000. "Pathological Outcomes of Observational Learning," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 371-398, March.
  5. Andrew Schotter & Barry Sopher, 2006. "Trust and trustworthiness in games: An experimental study of intergenerational advice," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 123-145, June.
  6. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 1995. "Word-of-Mouth Communication and Social Learning," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 93-125, February.
  7. Boğaçhan Çelen & Shachar Kariv, 2005. "An experimental test of observational learning under imperfect information," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 677-699, October.
  8. Allison, G. & Fudenberg, D., 1992. "Rules of Thumb for Social Learning," Working papers 92-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Anderson, Lisa R & Holt, Charles A, 1997. "Information Cascades in the Laboratory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 847-62, December.
  10. Celen, Bogachan & Kariv, Shachar, 2004. "Observational learning under imperfect information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 72-86, April.
  11. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
  12. Angela A. Hung & Charles R. Plott, 2001. "Information Cascades: Replication and an Extension to Majority Rule and Conformity-Rewarding Institutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1508-1520, December.
  13. Bogaçhan Çelen & Shachar Kariv, 2004. "Distinguishing Informational Cascades from Herd Behavior in the Laboratory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 484-498, June.
  14. Merlo, Antonio & Schotter, Andrew, 2003. "Learning by not doing: an experimental investigation of observational learning," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 116-136, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Jacob K. Goeree & Thomas R. Palfrey & Brian W. Rogers & Richard D. McKelvey, 2007. "Self-Correcting Information Cascades," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 733-762.
  2. Bougheas, Spiros & Nieboer, Jeroen & Sefton, Martin, 2013. "Risk-taking in social settings: Group and peer effects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 273-283.
  3. Serra Garcia, M. & Damme, E.E.C. van & Potters, J.J.M., 2011. "Lying About What you Know or About What you do? (replaces TILEC DP 2010-016)," Discussion Paper 2011-055, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
  4. Jordi Brandts & Valeska Groener & Christina Rott, 2012. "The impact of advice on women's and men's selection into competition," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 912.12, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  5. Otto H. Swank & Bauke Visser, 2010. "Decision Making and Learning in a Globalizing World," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-034/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  6. Krupka, Erin & Weber, Roberto A., 2009. "The focusing and informational effects of norms on pro-social behavior," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 307-320, June.
  7. Thomas de Haan & Theo Offerman & Randolph Sloof, 2011. "Money talks? An Experimental Investigation of Cheap Talk and Burned Money," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-069/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Serra Garcia, M. & Damme, E.E.C. van & Potters, J.J.M., 2011. "Lying About What you Know or About What you Do? (replaces CentER DP 2010-033)," Discussion Paper 2011-139, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  9. Cabrales, Antonio & Charness, Gary, 2011. "Optimal contracts with team production and hidden information: An experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 163-176, February.
  10. Seda Ertac & Mehmet Y. Gurdal, 2013. "Preference Communication and Leadership in Group Decision-Making," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1324, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  11. Jordi Brandts & Valeska Groenert & Christina Rott, 2012. "The Impact of Advice on Women's and Men's Selection into Competition," Working Papers 663, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  12. David Cooper & John Lightle, 2013. "The gift of advice: communication in a bilateral gift exchange game," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 443-477, December.

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