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The Weight of Personal Experience: an Experimental Measurement

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  • Zacharias Maniadis
  • Joshua Miller

Abstract

We present an experiment to address the question of whether a piece of information is more influential if it comes from experience, rather than from another source. We employ a novel experimental design which controls for the value of information and other potentially important confounding factors present in related studies. Overall, our results show that an event that is personally experienced has a stronger influence on subsequent behavior than an observed event with equally valuable information content. Importantly, in early rounds when information is more valuable from a rational viewpoint, this overweighting of personal experience is not statistically significant. JEL Classification Numbers: C90; C91; Keywords: Experiments; Learning; Observation; Reinforcement Learning; Belief-Based Learning

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 452.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:452

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  1. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  2. Jacob Goeree & Thomas Palfrey & Brian Rogers, 2004. "Self-Correcting Information Cascades," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000153, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Nick Feltovich & John Duffy, 1999. "Does observation of others affect learning in strategic environments? An experimental study," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 131-152.
  4. Armantier, Olivier, 2004. "Does observation influence learning?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 221-239, February.
  5. repec:bla:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:3:p:733-762 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Nick Feltovich, 2000. "Reinforcement-Based vs. Belief-Based Learning Models in Experimental Asymmetric-Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 605-642, May.
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