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An Experimental Test of Advice and Social Learning

Listed author(s):
  • Boðaçhan Çelen
  • Shachar Kariv
  • Andrew Schotter

Social learning describes any situation in which individuals learn by observing the behavior of others. In the real world, however, individuals learn not just by observing the actions of others but also from seeking advice. This paper introduces advice giving into the standard social-learning experiment of Çelen and Kariv (Çelen, B., S. Kariv. 2005. An experimental test of observational learning under imperfect information. Econom. Theory 26(3) 677-699). The experiments are designed so that both pieces of information--action and advice--are equally informative (in fact, identical) in equilibrium. Despite the informational equivalence of advice and actions, we find that subjects in a laboratory social-learning situation appear to be more willing to follow the advice given to them by their predecessor than to copy their action, and that the presence of advice increases subjects' welfare.

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File URL: http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~kariv/CKS_I.pdf
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Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series Levine's Bibliography with number 784828000000000272.

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Date of creation: 27 Mar 2006
Handle: RePEc:cla:levrem:784828000000000272
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  7. Merlo, Antonio & Schotter, Andrew, 2003. "Learning by not doing: an experimental investigation of observational learning," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 116-136, January.
  8. Banerjee, Abhijit & Fudenberg, Drew, 2004. "Word-of-mouth learning," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-22, January.
  9. Andrew Schotter & Barry Sopher, 2006. "Trust and trustworthiness in games: An experimental study of intergenerational advice," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(2), pages 123-145, June.
  10. Gale, Douglas, 1996. "What have we learned from social learning?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 617-628, April.
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  18. Lamont, Owen A., 2002. "Macroeconomic forecasts and microeconomic forecasters," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 265-280, July.
  19. Judith Chevalier & Glenn Ellison, 1999. "Career Concerns of Mutual Fund Managers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 389-432.
  20. 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.
  21. Anderson, Lisa R & Holt, Charles A, 1997. "Information Cascades in the Laboratory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 847-862, December.
  22. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-1451, November.
  23. Yaw Nyarko & Andrew Schotter & Barry Sopher, 2006. "On the informational content of advice: a theoretical and experimental study," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 29(2), pages 433-452, October.
  24. 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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