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Saturation Effect and Cyclical Herd Behavior

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  • Patarick Leoni

    ()
    (Economics Department, National University of Ireland, Maynooth)

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    Abstract

    We analyze a sequential decision model, where in every period a new agent seeks to determine the payoff of some actions. Every agent receives a possibly uninformative signal about the payoffs, and she observes previous choices. Some actions have a saturation effect; i.e., their payoffs become zero if used repeatedly too often albeit the original payoff is recovered later. We show that in every equilibrium and for almost every equilibrium play path, an action will trigger a cyclical herd behavior. We also show that the length of the transition phase between two consecutive herd behavior is at most the time needed to recover from the saturation effect. We thus give an alternative explanation to Kirman (1993) for the cyclicity of herd behavior, based on the negative externality generated by the repeated use of the same action.

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    File URL: http://economics.nuim.ie/sites/economics.nuim.ie/files/working-papers/N1690906.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth in its series Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series with number n1690906.

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    Length: 14 pages
    Date of creation: 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:may:mayecw:n1690906

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    Postal: Maynooth, Co. Kildare
    Phone: 353-1-7083728
    Fax: 353-1-7083934
    Web page: http://economics.nuim.ie
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    Related research

    Keywords: Herd behavior; Cycles; Saturation effects.;

    References

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    1. Scharfstein, David. & Stein, Jeremy C., 1988. "Herd behavior and investment," Working papers WP 2062-88., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    2. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-40, June.
    3. 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.
    4. Kirman, Alan, 1993. "Ants, Rationality, and Recruitment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(1), pages 137-56, February.
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