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Optimizing Information in the Herd: Guinea Pigs, Profits, and Welfare

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  • Sgroi, Daniel

Abstract

Herding arises when an agent's private informationis swamped by public information in what Jackson and Kalai (1997) call a recurring game. The agent will fail to reveal his own information and will follow the actions of his predecessor and, as a result, useful information is lost, which might have highlighted a better choice for later decision-makers. This paper evaluates the strategy of forcing a sub-set of agents to make their decision early from the perspective of a social planner, and a firm with a valuable or valueless procuct. Promotional activity by firms can be explained as an attemps to overcome the herd externality and maximize sales.
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Suggested Citation

  • Sgroi, Daniel, 2002. "Optimizing Information in the Herd: Guinea Pigs, Profits, and Welfare," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 137-166, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:39:y:2002:i:1:p:137-166
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Margaret A. Meyer, 1991. "Learning from Coarse Information: Biased Contests and Career Profiles," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 15-41.
    2. 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.
    3. Jackson, Matthew O. & Kalai, Ehud, 1997. "Social Learning in Recurring Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 102-134, October.
    4. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality

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