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Limited depth of reasoning and failure of cascade formation in the laboratory

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  • Kübler, Dorothea
  • Weizsäcker, Georg

Abstract

We examine the robustness of information cascades in laboratory experiments. Apart from the situation in which each player can obtain a signal for free (as in the experiment by Anderson and Holt, 1997, American Economic Review), the case of costly signals is studied where players decide whether to obtain private information or not, at a small but positive cost. In the equilibrium of this game, only the first player buys a signal and chooses an urn based on this information whereas all following players do not buy a signal and herd behind the first player. The experimental results show that too many signals are bought and the equilibrium prediction performs poorly. To explain these observations, the depth of the subjects' reasoning process is estimated, using a statistical error-rate model. Allowing for different error rates on different levels of reasoning, we find that the subjects' inferences become significantly more noisy on higher levels of the thought process, and that only very short chains of reasoning are applied by the subjects. --

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Paper provided by Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes in its series SFB 373 Discussion Papers with number 2001,3.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:20013

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  1. Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, 2000. "A Model of Noisy Introspection," Virginia Economics Online Papers 343, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  2. Sefton, Martin & Yavas, Abdullah, 1996. "Abreu-Matsushima Mechanisms: Experimental Evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 280-302, October.
  3. Broseta, Bruno & Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Crawford, Vincent P., 2000. "Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt0fp8278k, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  4. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
  5. Ho, Teck-Hua & Camerer, Colin & Weigelt, Keith, 1998. "Iterated Dominance and Iterated Best Response in Experimental "p-Beauty Contests."," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 947-69, September.
  6. Simon P. Anderson & Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, 2002. "The Logit Equilibrium: A Perspective on Intuitive Behavioral Anomalies," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 21-47, July.
  7. Richard Mckelvey & Thomas Palfrey, 1998. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Extensive Form Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 9-41, June.
  8. Stahl, Dale II & Wilson, Paul W., 1994. "Experimental evidence on players' models of other players," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 309-327, December.
  9. R. McKelvey & T. Palfrey, 2010. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 510, David K. Levine.
  10. Steffen Huck & Joerg Oechssler, 1999. "Informational cascades in the laboratory: Do they occur for the right reasons?," Experimental 9901001, EconWPA.
  11. Kraemer, Carlo & Nöth, Markus & Weber, Martin, 2000. "Information Aggregation with Costly Information and Random Ordering: Experimental Evidence," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 00-35, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  12. Stahl Dale O. & Wilson Paul W., 1995. "On Players' Models of Other Players: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 218-254, July.
  13. 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.
  14. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
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