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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. Jackson, Matthew O. & Kalai, Ehud, 1997. "Social Learning in Recurring Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 21(1-2), pages 102-134, October.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    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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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Daron Acemoglu & Munther A. Dahleh & Ilan Lobel & Asuman Ozdaglar, 2011. "Bayesian Learning in Social Networks," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(4), pages 1201-1236.
    2. Liu, Ting & Schiraldi, Pasquale, 2007. "Social learning and monopolist's product launching strategy," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4921, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Nicolás Figueroa & Carla Guadalupi, 2017. "Convincing early adopters: Price signals and Information transmission," Documentos de Trabajo 486, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
    4. Glazer, Jacob & Kremer, Ilan & Perry, Motty, 2015. "Crowd Learning without Herding : A Mechanism Design Approach," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1095, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    5. Olivier Gossner & Nicolas Melissas, 2006. "Informational Cascades Elicit Private Information ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(1), pages 297-325, February.
    6. Smith, L. & Sorensen, P., 1997. "Informational Herding and Optimal Experimentation," Economics Papers 139, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    7. Daniel Sgroi & Andrew J. Oswald, 2013. "How Should Peer‐review Panels Behave?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0, pages 255-278, August.
    8. Aoyagi, Masaki & Bhalla, Manaswini & Gunay, Hikmet, 2016. "Social learning and delay in a dynamic model of price competition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 565-600.
    9. Sgroi, D., 2002. "Modelling Experience as Signal Accumulation," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0205, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    10. Gill, David & Sgroi, Daniel, 2012. "The optimal choice of pre-launch reviewer," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(3), pages 1247-1260.
    11. Annamaria Fiore & Andrea Morone, 2005. "Is playing alone in the darkness sufficient to prevent informational cascades?," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2005-09, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    12. Alexei Parakhonyak & Nick Vikander, 2013. "Optimal Sales Schemes for Network Goods," Discussion Papers 13-11, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    13. Masaki Aoyagi, 2010. "Optimal Sales Schemes against Interdependent Buyers," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 150-182, February.
    14. D. Sgroi, 2001. "Controlling the Herd: Applications of Herding Theory," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0106, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    15. Gill, David & Sgroi, Daniel, 2008. "Sequential decisions with tests," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 663-678, July.
    16. Daniel Sgroi, 2003. "The Right Choice at the Right Time: A Herding Experiment in Endogenous Time," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 6(2), pages 159-180, October.
    17. Alexei Parakhonyak & Nick Vikander, 2016. "Inducing Herding with Capacity Constraints," Economics Series Working Papers 808, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    18. Subir Bose & Gerhard Orosel & Marco Ottaviani & Lise Vesterlund, 2008. "Monopoly pricing in the binary herding model," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 37(2), pages 203-241, November.
    19. Gill, David & Sgroi, Daniel, 2008. "The Optimal Choice of Pre-launch Reviewer : How Best to Transmit Information using Tests and Conditional Pricing," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 877, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    20. Ting Liu & Pasquale Schiraldi, 2012. "New product launch: herd seeking or herd preventing?," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 51(3), pages 627-648, November.

    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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