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Distinguishing Informational Cascades from Herd Behavior in the Laboratory

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  • Bogaçhan Çelen
  • Shachar Kariv

Abstract

This paper reports an experimental test of how individuals learn from the behavior of others. By using techniques only available in the laboratory, we elicit subjects' beliefs. This allows us to distinguish informational cascades from herd behavior. By adding a setup with continuous signal and discrete action, we enrich the ball-andurn observational learning experiments paradigm of Lisa R. Anderson and Charles Holt (1997). We attempt to understand subjects' behavior by estimating a model that allows for the possibility of errors in earlier decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:94:y:2004:i:3:p:484-498
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/0002828041464461
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lones Smith & Peter Sorensen, 2000. "Pathological Outcomes of Observational Learning," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 371-398, March.
    2. Angela A. Hung & Charles R. Plott, 2001. "Information Cascades: Replication and an Extension to Majority Rule and Conformity-Rewarding Institutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1508-1520, December.
    3. Celen, Bogachan & Kariv, Shachar, 2004. "Observational learning under imperfect information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 72-86, April.
    4. Scharfstein, David S & Stein, Jeremy C, 1990. "Herd Behavior and Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 465-479, June.
    5. 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.
    6. Dorothea Kübler & Georg Weizsäcker, 2004. "Limited Depth of Reasoning and Failure of Cascade Formation in the Laboratory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 425-441.
    7. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-877, October.
    8. repec:cup:apsrev:v:93:y:1999:i:01:p:51-67_21 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Welch, Ivo, 1992. " Sequential Sales, Learning, and Cascades," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 695-732, June.
    10. Avery, Christopher & Zemsky, Peter, 1998. "Multidimensional Uncertainty and Herd Behavior in Financial Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 724-748, September.
    11. Gale, Douglas, 1996. "What have we learned from social learning?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 617-628, April.
    12. Kennedy, Robert E, 2002. "Strategy Fads and Competitive Convergence: An Empirical Test for Herd Behavior in Prime-Time Television Programming," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 57-84, March.
    13. Morton, Rebecca B. & Williams, Kenneth C., 1999. "Information Asymmetries and Simultaneous versus Sequential Voting," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 93(01), pages 51-67, March.
    14. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817.
    15. Lisa R. Anderson & Charles A. Holt, 1996. "Classroom Games: Information Cascades," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 187-193, Fall.
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