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The Sound of Others: Surprising Evidence of Conformist Behavior

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  • Paolo Crosetto
  • Antonio Filippin

Abstract

In this article we use the “Click” version of the Bomb Risk Elicitation Task to explore preferences for conformism. In the task subjects can infer the behavior of others from the mass of clicks heard. This signal is uninformative about the precise choices of the other participants, and never mentioned in the instructions. We control the exposure of subjects to clicks by implementing treatments with and without earmuffs. We further test the effect of the introduction of a common rather than individual resolution of uncertainty, still keeping individual payoffs independent of other subjects’ choices. We find strong evidence of conformist behavior even in such an inhospitable environment. Simply hearing the others clicking marginally affects subjects behavior. Introducing a common random draw results in a dramatic shift of the average choices toward risk loving, in particular by women, which is consistent with social preference considerations.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Crosetto & Antonio Filippin, 2017. "The Sound of Others: Surprising Evidence of Conformist Behavior," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 83(4), pages 1038-1051, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:soecon:v:83:y:2017:i:4:p:1038-1051
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/soej.12186
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    1. 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.
    2. Bicchieri, Cristina & Erte, Xiao, 2007. "Do the right thing: But only if others do so," MPRA Paper 4609, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Paolo Crosetto & Antonio Filippin, 2013. "The “bomb” risk elicitation task," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 31-65, August.
    4. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2011. "Individual Risk Attitudes: Measurement, Determinants, And Behavioral Consequences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 522-550, June.
    5. Antonio Filippin & Paolo Crosetto, 2016. "Click‘n’Roll: No Evidence of Illusion of Control," De Economist, Springer, vol. 164(3), pages 281-295, September.
    6. Antonio Filippin & Paolo Crosetto, 2016. "A Reconsideration of Gender Differences in Risk Attitudes," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(11), pages 3138-3160, November.
    7. Fosgaard, Toke Reinholt & Hansen, Lars Gaarn & Piovesan, Marco, 2013. "Separating Will from Grace: An experiment on conformity and awareness in cheating," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 279-284.
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    11. Anthony Ziegelmeyer & Frédéric Koessler & Juergen Bracht & Eyal Winter, 2010. "Fragility of information cascades: an experimental study using elicited beliefs," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(2), pages 121-145, June.
    12. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817.
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    14. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Antonio Filippin & Paolo Crosetto, 2016. "Click‘n’Roll: No Evidence of Illusion of Control," De Economist, Springer, vol. 164(3), pages 281-295, September.
    2. Francesca Gioia, 2017. "Peer effects on risk behaviour: the importance of group identity," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(1), pages 100-129, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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