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An Experimental Test of Advice and Social Functioning


  • Bogachan Celen

    () (Columbia Business School)

  • Shachar Kariv

    () (Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley)

  • Andrew Schotter

    () (Department of Economics, New York University)


Social learning is the process of individuals learning by observing the actions of others. In the real world, however, although people learn by observing the actions of others, they also learn from advice. This paper introduces advice giving into a standard social-learning problem. The experiment is designed so that both pieces of information ? actions and advice ? are equally informative (in fact, identical) in equilibrium. Despite the informational equivalence of advice and actions, in the laboratory, subjects are more willing to follow the advice given to them by their predecessors than to copy their actions. In addition, when advice is given subject behavior is more consistent with the prediction of the theory. Consequently, advice is both more informative and welfare improving.

Suggested Citation

  • Bogachan Celen & Shachar Kariv & Andrew Schotter, 2007. "An Experimental Test of Advice and Social Functioning," Working Papers 0021, New York University, Center for Experimental Social Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:cso:wpaper:0021

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    Advice; Social Learning; Experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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