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An Experimental Test of Advice and Social Functioning

Listed author(s):
  • 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.

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Paper provided by New York University, Center for Experimental Social Science in its series Working Papers with number 0021.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 15 Feb 2007
Handle: RePEc:cso:wpaper:0021
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