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Rules of Thumb for Social Learning

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  • G. Ellison
  • D. Fudenberg

Abstract

This paper studies agents who consider the experiences of their neighbors in deciding which of two technologies to use. We 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.
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Suggested Citation

  • G. Ellison & D. Fudenberg, 2010. "Rules of Thumb for Social Learning," Levine's Working Paper Archive 435, David K. Levine.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:435
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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
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