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Imitation - Theory and Experimental Evidence -

  • Jose Apesteguia

    ()

    (Public University of Navarre, Department of Economics)

  • Steffen Huck

    ()

    (s.huck@ucl.ac.uk, Department of Economics and ELSE)

  • Jörg Oechssler

    ()

    (University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics)

We introduce a generalized theoretical approach to study imitation and subject it to rigorous experimental testing. In our theoretical analysis we find that the di¤erent predictions of previous imitation models are due to different informational assumptions, not to different behavioral rules. It is more important whom one imitates rather than how. In a laboratory experiment we test the different theories by systematically varying information conditions. We find significant effects of seemingly innocent changes in information. Moreover, the generalized imitation model predicts the differences between treatments well. The data pro- vide support for imitation on the individual level, both in terms of choice and in terms of perception. But imitation is not unconditional. Rather individuals propensity to imitate more successful actions is increasing in payoff differences.

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Paper provided by University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0419.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2005
Date of revision: Apr 2005
Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0419
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  14. Fernando Vega Redondo, 1996. "The evolution of walrasian behavior," Working Papers. Serie AD 1996-05, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
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  16. Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
  17. Schlag, Karl H., 1994. "Why Imitate, and if so, How? Exploring a Model of Social Evolution," Discussion Paper Serie B 296, University of Bonn, Germany.
  18. Reinhard Selten & Jose Apesteguia, 2002. "Experimentally Observed Imitation and Cooperation in Price Competition on the Circle," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse19_2002, University of Bonn, Germany.
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  22. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
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