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Management fads, pedagogies, and other soft technologies

  • Bendor, Jonathan
  • Huberman, Bernardo A.
  • Wu, Fang

We present a model for the diffusion of management fads and other technologies which lack clear objective evidence about their merits. The choices made by non-Bayesian adopters reflect both their own evaluations and the social influence of their peers. We show, both analytically and computationally, that the dynamics lead to outcomes that appear to be deterministic in spite of being governed by a stochastic process. In other words, when the objective evidence about a technology is weak, the evolution of this process quickly settles down to a fraction of adopters that is not predetermined. When the objective evidence is strong, the proportion of adopters is determined by the quality of the evidence and the adopters' competence.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 72 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 290-304

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:72:y:2009:i:1:p:290-304
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  1. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2010. "A theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom and cultural change as informational Cascades," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1193, David K. Levine.
  2. Colin Camerer, 1998. "Bounded Rationality in Individual Decision Making," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 163-183, September.
  3. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
  4. Dorothea K¸bler & Georg Weizs”cker, 2004. "Limited Depth of Reasoning and Failure of Cascade Formation in the Laboratory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 425-441, 04.
  5. Welch, Ivo, 1992. " Sequential Sales, Learning, and Cascades," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 695-732, June.
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