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The evolution of social learning and its economic consequences

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  • Bossan, Benjamin
  • Jann, Ole
  • Hammerstein, Peter

Abstract

We use an evolutionary model to simulate agents who choose between two options with stochastically varying payoffs. Two types of agents are considered: individual learners, who rely on trial-and-error methods, and social learners, who imitate the wealthiest sampled individual. Agents adapt to changing environments within one generation by using their respective learning strategy. The frequency of the agent types adapts between generations according to the agents’ acquired wealth. During the course of evolution, social learning becomes dominant, resulting in three major effects: First, for better or worse, the decisions of social learners are more exaggerated than those of individual learners. Second, social learners react with a delay to changes in the environment. Third, the behavior of social learners becomes more and more detached from reality. We argue that our model gives insights into economic systems and markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Bossan, Benjamin & Jann, Ole & Hammerstein, Peter, 2015. "The evolution of social learning and its economic consequences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 266-288.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:112:y:2015:i:c:p:266-288
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2015.01.010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nobuyuki Hanaki & Alan Kirman & Paul Pezanis-Christou, 2018. "Observational and reinforcement pattern-learning: An exploratory study ," Post-Print halshs-01723513, HAL.
    2. Nobuyuki Hanaki & Alan Kirman & Paul Pezanis-Christou, 2016. "Counter Intuitive Learning: An Exploratory Study," School of Economics Working Papers 2016-12, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
    3. Nobuyuki Hanaki & Alan Kirman & Paul Pezanis-Christou, 2016. "Observational and Reinforcement Pattern-learning: An Exploratory Study," GREDEG Working Papers 2016-24, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, revised Jun 2017.
    4. repec:eee:eecrev:v:104:y:2018:i:c:p:1-21 is not listed on IDEAS

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