The Right Choice at the Right Time: A Herding Experiment in Endogenous Time
Herding describes the phenomenon in decision-making where an economic agent disregards his own private information to follow the actions of his predecessors as in Banerjee (1992). With later decision-makers simply copying earlier decisions their private information cannot be inferred by other decision-makers and will be forever lost. There is some experimental evidence on simple sequential herding of this type in the literature, notably Anderson and Holt (1997). This paper differs by allowing subjects to delay their decision-making in order to benefit from observing others' actions as in more recent herding models such as Chamley and Gale (1994). The results in this paper suggest that subjects will indeed delay when their private information is not sufficiently strong. Despite this ability to wait, as predicted in the theoretical literature, cascades remained ubiquitous and more worrying still, reverse-cascades occurred in which incorrect decisions made by early decision-makers produced informational cascades on the wrong action. In an alternative design, informing subjects that they had made incorrect choices only made matters worse as subjects moved further away from rational behavior. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003
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Volume (Year): 6 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
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References listed on IDEAS
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- Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817.
- John Hey & Louise Allsopp, .
"Two Experiments to Test a Model of Herd Behaviour,"
99/24, Department of Economics, University of York.
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- 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.
- Plott, Charles & Hung, Angela, 1998. "Information Cascades: Replication and an Extension to Majority Rule and Conformity Rewarding Institutions," Working Papers 1051, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Anderson, Lisa R & Holt, Charles A, 1997. "Information Cascades in the Laboratory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 847-62, December.
- Sgroi, D., 2000.
"Optimizing Information in the Herd: Guinea Pigs, Profit and Welfare,"
2000-w14, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
- 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.
- Welch, Ivo, 1992. " Sequential Sales, Learning, and Cascades," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 695-732, June.
- Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 1998. "Learning from the Behavior of Others: Conformity, Fads, and Informational Cascades," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 151-170, Summer.
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