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Rules of Thumb for Social Learning

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  • Ellison, Glenn
  • Fudenberg, Drew

Abstract

This paper studies agents who consider the experiences of their neighbors in deciding which of two technologies to use. The authors analyze two learning environments, one in which the same technology is optimal for all players and another in which each technology is better for some of them. In both environments, players use exogenously specified rules of thumb that ignore historical data but may incorporate a tendency to use the more popular technology. In some cases, these naive rules can lead to fairly efficient decisions in the long run but adjustment can be slow when a superior technology is first introduced. Copyright 1993 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 1993. "Rules of Thumb for Social Learning," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 612-643, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:101:y:1993:i:4:p:612-43
    DOI: 10.1086/261890
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Futia, Carl A, 1982. "Invariant Distributions and the Limiting Behavior of Markovian Economic Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 377-408, March.
    2. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 1993. "Rules of Thumb for Social Learning," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 612-643, August.
    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. Manski, C.F., 1990. "Dynamic Choice In A Social Setting," Working papers 9003, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    5. Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.
    6. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817.
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