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The benefits of forced experimentation: strikingevidence from the London Underground network

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  • Larcom, Shaun
  • Rauch, Ferdinand
  • Willems, Tim

Abstract

We estimate that a significant fraction of commuters on the London underground do not travel their optimal route. Consequently, a tube strike (which forced many commuters to experiment with new routes) taught commuters about the existence of superior journeys, bringing about lasting changes in behaviour. This effect is stronger for commuters who live in areas where the tube map is more distorted, thereby pointing towards the importance of informational imperfections. We argue that the information produced by the strike improved network-efficiency. Search costs are unlikely to explain the suboptimal behaviour. Instead, individuals seem to under-experiment in normal times, as a result of which constraints can be welfare-improving

Suggested Citation

  • Larcom, Shaun & Rauch, Ferdinand & Willems, Tim, 2015. "The benefits of forced experimentation: strikingevidence from the London Underground network," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 63832, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:63832
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/63832/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Beestermöller, Matthias, 2017. "Striking Evidence? Demand Persistence for Inter-City Buses from German Railway Strikes," Discussion Papers in Economics 31768, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    2. Juan de Lucio & Raúl Mínguez & Asier Minondo & Francisco Requena, 2018. "Benefits of forced experimentation on exports," Working Papers 1812, Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia.
    3. Andrew T. Ching & Tülin Erdem & Michael P. Keane, 2016. "Empirical Models of Learning Dynamics: A Survey of Recent Developments," Economics Papers 2016-W12, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    4. Drew Fudenberg & David K Levine, 2016. "Whither Game Theory?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000001307, David K. Levine.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Experimentation; learning; optimization; rationality; search;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L91 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Transportation: General
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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