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Word-of-Mouth Communication and Social Learning

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  • Glenn Ellison
  • Drew Fudenberg

Abstract

This paper studies the way that word-of-mouth communication aggregates the information of individual agents. We find that the structure of the communication process determines whether all agents end up making identical choices, with less communication making this conformity more likely. Despite the players' naive decision rules and the stochastic decision environment, word-of-mouth communication may lead all players to adopt the action that is on average superior. These socially efficient outcomes tend to occur when each agent samples only a few others.

Suggested Citation

  • Glenn Ellison & Drew Fudenberg, 1995. "Word-of-Mouth Communication and Social Learning," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 93-125.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:110:y:1995:i:1:p:93-125.
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