Like What You Like or Like What Others Like? - Conformity and Peer Effects on Facebook
AbstractUsers of the social networking service Facebook have the possibility to post status updates for their friends to read. In turn, friends may react to these short messages by writing comments or by pressing a Like button to show their appreciation. Making use of five Swedish accounts, we set up a natural field experiment to study whether users are more prone to Like an update if someone else has done so before. We distinguish between three different treatment conditions: (i) one unknown user Likes the update, (ii) three unknown users Like the update and (iii) one peer Likes the update. Whereas the first condition had no effect, both the second and the third increased the probability to express a positive opinion by a factor of two or more, suggesting that both number of predecessors and social proximity matters. We identify three reasonable explanations for the observed herding behavior and isolate conformity as the primary mechanism in our experiment.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Stockholm University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2011:27.
Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 22 Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 16 20 00
Fax: +46 8 16 14 25
Web page: http://www.ne.su.se/
More information through EDIRC
Herding Behavior; Conformity; Peer Effects; Field Experiment;
Other versions of this item:
- Egebark, Johan & Ekström, Mathias, 2011. "Like What You Like or Like What Others Like? Conformity and Peer Effects on Facebook," Working Paper Series 886, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
- A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
- C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Economics; Underlying Principles
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-11-01 (All new papers)
- NEP-EXP-2011-11-01 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-SOC-2011-11-01 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Coralio Ballester & Antoni Calvó-Armengol & Yves Zenou, 2004.
"Who's Who in Networks. Wanted: The Key Player,"
178, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- Coralio Ballester & Antoni Calvo-Armengol & Yves Zenou, 2005. "Who's Who in Networks. Wanted: the Key Player," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 666156000000000586, www.najecon.org.
- Ballester, Coralio & Calvó-Armengol, Antoni & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "Who’s Who in Networks. Wanted: The Key Player," CEPR Discussion Papers 5329, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Ariely, Dan & Levav, Jonathan, 2000. " Sequential Choice in Group Settings: Taking the Road Less Traveled and Less Enjoyed," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 279-90, December.
- Charles F. Manski, 2000.
"Economic Analysis of Social Interactions,"
NBER Working Papers
7580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Martin, Richard & Randal, John, 2008. "How is donation behaviour affected by the donations of others?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 228-238, July.
- Jonathan E. Alevy & Michael S. Haigh & John A. List, 2007.
"Information Cascades: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Financial Market Professionals,"
Journal of Finance,
American Finance Association, vol. 62(1), pages 151-180, 02.
- Jonathan Alevy & Michael Haigh & John List, 2005. "Information cascades: Evidence from a field experiment with financial market professionals," Framed Field Experiments 00116, The Field Experiments Website.
- Alevy, Jonathan E. & Haigh, Michael S. & List, John A., 2003. "Information Cascades: Evidence From A Field Experiment With Financial Market Professionals," Working Papers 28608, University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
- Adriaan R. Soetevent, 2006. "Empirics of the Identification of Social Interactions; An Evaluation of the Approaches and Their Results ," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 193-228, 04.
- Hongbin Cai & Yuyu Chen & Hanming Fang, 2007.
"Observational Learning: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Field Experiment,"
NBER Working Papers
13516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hongbin Cai & Yuyu Chen & Hanming Fang, 2009. "Observational Learning: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 864-82, June.
- Luca Corazzini & Ben Greiner, 2005.
"Herding, Social Preferences and (Non-) Conformity,"
Working Paper Series in Economics
21, University of Cologne, Department of Economics, revised 24 Jan 2007.
- Alexandre Mas & Enrico Moretti, 2006.
"Peers at Work,"
NBER Working Papers
12508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
- Gur Huberman, 2001. "Contagious Speculation and a Cure for Cancer: A Nonevent that Made Stock Prices Soar," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 387-396, 02.
- Beshears, John & Choi, James J. & Laibson, David & Madrian, Brigitte C., 2008.
"How are preferences revealed?,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1787-1794, August.
- John Beshears & James Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian, 2007. "How Are Preferences Revealed?," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001760, UCLA Department of Economics.
- John Beshears & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2008. "How are Preferences Revealed?," NBER Working Papers 13976, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John Beshears & James Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian, 2008. "How are Preferences Revealed?," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2466, Yale School of Management.
- Georg Weizsacker, 2010.
"Do We Follow Others When We Should? A Simple Test of Rational Expectations,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2340-60, December.
- Weizsäcker, Georg, 2008. "Do We Follow Others When We Should? A Simple Test of Rational Expectations," IZA Discussion Papers 3616, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2002.
"The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment,"
NBER Working Papers
8885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role Of Information And Social Interactions In Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence From A Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842, August.
- Gary S. Becker, 1974.
"A Theory of Social Interactions,"
NBER Working Papers
0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Noah J. Goldstein & Robert B. Cialdini & Vladas Griskevicius, 2008. "A Room with a Viewpoint: Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in Hotels," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(3), pages 472-482, 03.
- Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005.
"Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962, August.
- Orana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social preferences and the response to incentives: Evidence from personnel data," Natural Field Experiments 00212, The Field Experiments Website.
- Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
- Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992.
"A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
- 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.
- Stefano Dellavigna & Joshua M. Pollet, 2009. "Investor Inattention and Friday Earnings Announcements," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(2), pages 709-749, 04.
- Uri Simonsohn & Dan Ariely, 2008. "When Rational Sellers Face Nonrational Buyers: Evidence from Herding on eBay," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(9), pages 1624-1637, September.
Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Giovanna Devetag & Francesca Ceccacci & Paola De Salvo, 2013. "Do Reputation Concerns Make Behavioral Biases Disappear? The Conjunction Fallacy on Facebook and Mechanical Turk," CEEL Working Papers 1303, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sten Nyberg).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.