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Imitation and Luck: An Experimental Study on Social Sampling

Author

Listed:
  • Theo Offerman

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Andrew Schotter

    (New York University)

Abstract

In this paper, we present the results of two experiments on social sampling. In both experiments, people are asked to make a risky decision in a situation where an idiosyncratic luck term a?ects their performance. Before they make their decision, people have the opportunity to sample others who have done exactly the same problem before them. These previous participants are ranked on the basis of their success. In the first experiment, we find that, by and large, subjects sample and imitate lucky risk seekers, while they could have sampled others to retrieve information that is valuable to solve their problem rationally. The simple behavioral rule of imitating the best appears to be robust to the setting of the problem. In the second experiment, we find that subjects tend to imitate successful others in both the winner's curse version and the loser's curse version of the Bazerman-Samuelson takeover game. Because of the way these problems are constructed, imitation exacerbates the winner's curse while it alleviates the loser's curse. In all problems, social sampling makes people look more risk seeking than the people who do not have the opportunity to sample.

Suggested Citation

  • Theo Offerman & Andrew Schotter, 2007. "Imitation and Luck: An Experimental Study on Social Sampling," Working Papers 0020, New York University, Center for Experimental Social Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:cso:wpaper:0020
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    File URL: http://cess.nyu.edu/0020:2007-02.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Theo Offerman & Joep Sonnemans, 2004. "What's Causing Overreaction? An Experimental Investigation of Recency and the Hot-hand Effect," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 533-554, October.
    2. Apesteguia, Jose & Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Jorg, 2007. "Imitation--theory and experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 217-235, September.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tristan Boyer & Nicolas Jonard, 2014. "Imitation and Efficient Contagion," Working Papers 2014-52, Department of Research, Ipag Business School.
    2. Fosco, Constanza & Mengel, Friederike, 2011. "Cooperation through imitation and exclusion in networks," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 641-658, May.
    3. Bennett, Daniel & Chiang, Chun-Fang & Malani, Anup, 2015. "Learning during a crisis: The SARS epidemic in Taiwan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 1-18.
    4. Eisenkopf, Gerald & Friehe, Tim, 2014. "Stop watching and start listening! The impact of coaching and peer observation in tournaments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 56-70.
    5. Boyer, Tristan & Jonard, Nicolas, 2014. "Imitation and efficient contagion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 20-32.
    6. Hedlund, Jonas & Oyarzun, Carlos, 2016. "Imitation in Heterogeneous Populations," Working Papers 0625, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    7. repec:gam:jgames:v:9:y:2018:i:1:p:11-:d:134084 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:zbw:espost:178631 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Duffy, John & Kornienko, Tatiana, 2010. "Does competition affect giving?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(1-2), pages 82-103, May.
    10. Erik Mohlin & Robert Ostling & Joseph Tao-yi Wang, 2014. "Learning by Imitation in Games: Theory, Field, and Laboratory," Economics Series Working Papers 734, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    11. Sergio Sousa, 2010. "Are smarter people really less risk averse?," Discussion Papers 2010-17, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    12. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-052 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Jose Apesteguia & Jörg Oechssler & Simon Weidenholzer, 2018. "Copy trading," Economics Working Papers 1615, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    14. Apesteguia, Jose & Oechssler, Jörg & Weidenholzer, Simon, 2018. "Copy Trading," Working Papers 0649, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
      • Jose Apesteguia & Jörg Oechssler & Simon Weidenholzer, 2018. "Copy Trading," Working Papers 1048, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    15. Silvia Bou & Jordi Brandts & Magda Cayón & Pablo Guillén, 2016. "The price of luck: paying for the hot hand of others," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(1), pages 60-72, May.
    16. repec:spr:joecth:v:65:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s00199-017-1044-1 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Imitation; Social Learning;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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