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Do We Follow Others When We Should? A Simple Test of Rational Expectations

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  • Georg Weizsacker

Abstract

The paper presents a meta dataset covering 13 experiments on social learning games. It is found that in situations where it is empirically optimal to follow others and contradict one's own information, the players err in the majority of cases, forgoing substantial parts of earnings. The average player contradicts her own signal only if the empirical odds ratio of the own signal being wrong, conditional on all available information, is larger than 2:1, rather than 1:1 as would be implied by rational expectations. A regression analysis formulates a straightforward test of rational expectations which strongly rejects the null. (JEL D82, D83, D84)

Suggested Citation

  • 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 2340-2360, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:5:p:2340-60
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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