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Wise crowds or wise minorities?

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  • Christoph Brunner
  • Jacob K. Goeree

Abstract

This paper reports results from social learning experiments where subjects choose between two options and each subject has a small chance of being perfectly informed about which option is correct. In treatment "sequence", subjects observe the entire sequence of predecessors' choices while in treatment "no-sequence" they only observe the number of times each option has been chosen. The theoretical predictions are that subjects follow their immediate predecessors in treatment sequence and follow the minority in treatment no-sequence (Callander and Hörner, 2009). The former prediction is borne out in the data, but subjects tend to follow the majority in treatment no-sequence. We observe substantial heterogeneity in levels of strategic thinking, as predicted by level-k and Cognitive Hierarchy. While these models reproduce some features of our data, their fit is poor because of the assumed best-response behavior. Allowing for some degree of "trembling" improves the fit significantly, especially if subjects are aware that others tremble, as in logit-QRE. The "noisy introspection" model proposed by Goeree and Holt (2004), which combines different levels of thinking with error-prone behavior, best describes the data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 439.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:439

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Related research

Keywords: Social learning; experiments; quantal response equilibrium; level-k models; noisy introspection;

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References

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  1. Drehmann, Mathias & Oechssler, Jörg & Roider, Andreas, 2005. "Herding With and Without Payoff Externalities - An Internet Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 5310, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Jacob K. Goeree & Thomas R. Palfrey & Brian W. Rogers & Richard D. McKelvey, 2007. "Self-Correcting Information Cascades," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 733-762.
  3. Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, 2000. "A Model of Noisy Introspection," Virginia Economics Online Papers 343, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  4. Steven Callander & Johannes Horner, 2005. "The Wisdom of the Minority," 2005 Meeting Papers 683, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Dorothea K¸bler & Georg Weizs”cker, 2004. "Limited Depth of Reasoning and Failure of Cascade Formation in the Laboratory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 425-441, 04.
  6. Marco Cipriani & Antonio Guarino, 2005. "Herd Behavior in a Laboratory Financial Market," Experimental 0502002, EconWPA.
  7. Ottaviani, Marco & Sorensen, Peter, 2001. "Information aggregation in debate: who should speak first?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 393-421, September.
  8. Subir Bose & Gerhard Orosel & Marco Ottaviani & Lise Vesterlund, 2008. "Monopoly pricing in the binary herding model," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 203-241, November.
  9. Smith, L. & Sorensen, P., 1996. "Pathological Outcomes of Observational Learning," Economics Papers 115, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  10. Mathias Drehmann & Jörg Oechssler & Andreas Roider, 2002. "Herding and Contrarian Behavior in Financial Markets - An Internet Experiment," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse25_2002, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Apr 2003.
  11. Vincent P. Crawford & Nagore Iriberri, 2007. "Fatal Attraction: Salience, Naivete, and Sophistication in Experimental Hide-and-Seek Games," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000861, UCLA Department of Economics.
  12. Goeree, Jacob & Palfrey, Thomas & Rogers, Brian, 2003. "Social learning with private and common values," Working Papers 1187, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  13. Colin F. Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho & Juin-Kuan Chong, 2004. "A Cognitive Hierarchy Model of Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 861-898, August.
  14. Bogaçhan Çelen & Shachar Kariv, 2004. "Distinguishing Informational Cascades from Herd Behavior in the Laboratory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 484-498, June.
  15. Vincent P. Crawford & Miguel A. Costa-Gomes & Nagore Iriberri, 2010. "Strategic Thinking," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000001148, David K. Levine.
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Cited by:
  1. Asen Ivanov & Dan Levin & James Peck, 2008. "Hindsight, Foresight, and Insight: An Experimental Study of a Small-Market Investment Game with Common and Private Values," Working Papers 0801, VCU School of Business, Department of Economics.

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