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Information Cascades and Observational Learning

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  • Bikhchandani, Sushil

    (U of California, Los Angeles)

  • Hirshleifer, David

    (Ohio State U)

  • Welch, Ivo

    (Brown U)

Abstract

An information cascade occurs when it is optimal for an individual, having observed the actions and possibly payoffs of those ahead of him, to take the same action regardless of his own information. When there are informational cascades, society may reap only a modest fraction of the potential gains from aggregating the diverse information of many individuals. As a result, information cascades can help explain some otherwise puzzling aspects of human and animal behavior. For example, why do individuals tend to converge on similar behavior? Why is mass behavior prone to error and fads? We suggest that the theory of observational learning, and particularly of information cascades, has much to offer economics and other social sciences.

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File URL: http://www.cob.ohio-state.edu/fin/dice/papers/2005/2005-22.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2005-22.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:ohidic:2005-22

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Phone: (614) 292-8449
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Web page: http://www.cob.ohio-state.edu/fin/dice/list.htm
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  1. Bernardo, Antonio & Welch, Ivo, 1997. "On the Evolution of Overconfidence and Entrepreneurs," University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson Graduate School of Management qt6668s4pz, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA.
  2. Marco Cipriani & Antonio Guarino, . "Herd Behavior and Contagion in Financial Markets," Working Papers 2010-01, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  3. Smith, L. & Sorensen, P., 1996. "Pathological Outcomes of Observational Learning," Working papers 96-19, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 5026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Caplin, Andrew & Leahy, John, 1994. "Business as Usual, Market Crashes, and Wisdom after the Fact," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 548-65, June.
  6. Gale, Douglas, 1996. "What have we learned from social learning?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 617-628, April.
  7. Choi, J.P., 1994. "Herd behavior, the "Penguin effect", and the suppression of informational diffusion: An analysis of informational externalities and payoff interdependency," Discussion Paper 1994-62, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. Peter N. Golder & Gerard J. Tellis, 2004. "Growing, Growing, Gone: Cascades, Diffusion, and Turning Points in the Product Life Cycle," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(2), pages 207-218, December.
  9. Jeffrey R. Brown & Zoran Ivkovich & Paul A. Smith & Scott Weisbenner, 2007. "Neighbors Matter: Causal Community Effects and Stock Market Participation," NBER Working Papers 13168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Avery, Christopher & Zemsky, Peter, 1998. "Multidimensional Uncertainty and Herd Behavior in Financial Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 724-48, September.
  11. Russ Wermers, 1999. "Mutual Fund Herding and the Impact on Stock Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 581-622, 04.
  12. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 1998. "Learning from the Behavior of Others: Conformity, Fads, and Informational Cascades," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 151-170, Summer.
  13. Vives, Xavier, 1993. "How Fast Do Rational Agents Learn?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(2), pages 329-47, April.
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  15. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
  16. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2010. "A theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom and cultural change as informational Cascades," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1193, David K. Levine.
  17. Peter Sorensen & Marco Ottaviani, 2000. "Herd Behavior and Investment: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 695-704, June.
  18. Landes, William M, 1978. "An Economic Study of U.S. Aircraft Hijacking, 1961-1976," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-31, April.
  19. Devenow, Andrea & Welch, Ivo, 1996. "Rational herding in financial economics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 603-615, April.
  20. Lee, In Ho, 1998. "Market Crashes and Informational Avalanches," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 741-59, October.
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  22. Sheffrin, S.M. & Triest, R.K., 1991. "Can Brute Deterrence Backfire? Perceptions and Attitudes in Taxpayer Compliance," Papers 373, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  23. Welch, Ivo, 1992. " Sequential Sales, Learning, and Cascades," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 695-732, June.
  24. Sunil Sharma & Sushil Bikhchandani, 2000. "Herd Behavior in Financial Markets: A Review," IMF Working Papers 00/48, International Monetary Fund.
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