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Social Learning about Consumption


  • Isabelle Salle

    (Center for Nonlinear Dynamics in Economics and Finance (CeNDEF)
    Groupe De Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA))

  • Pascal Seppecher



This paper applies a social learning model to the optimal consumption rule of Allen & Carroll (2001), and delivers convincing convergence dynamics towards the optimal rule. These findings constitute a significant improvement regarding previous results in the literature, both in terms of speed of convergence and parsimony of the learning model. The learning model exhibits several appealing features: it is frugal, easy to apply to a range of learning objectives, requires few procedures and little information. Particular care is given to behavioural interpretation of the modelling assumptions in light of evidence from the fields of psychology and social science. Our results highlight the need to depart from the genetic metaphor, and account for intentional decision-making, based on agents’ relative performances. By contrast, we show that convergence is strongly hindered by exact imitation processes, or random exploration mechanisms, which are usually assumed when modelling social learning behaviour. Our results suggest a method for modelling bounded rationality, which could be tested most interestingly within the framework of a wide range of economic models with adaptive dynamics.

Suggested Citation

  • Isabelle Salle & Pascal Seppecher, 2013. "Social Learning about Consumption," GREDEG Working Papers 2013-18, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, revised Sep 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:gre:wpaper:2013-18

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dawid, Herbert, 1997. "Learning of equilibria by a population with minimal information," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-18, January.
    2. Allen, Todd W. & Carroll, Christopher D., 2001. "Individual Learning About Consumption," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(02), pages 255-271, April.
    3. Jasmina Arifovic & James Bullard & Olena Kostyshyna, 2013. "Social Learning and Monetary Policy Rules," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(567), pages 38-76, March.
    4. Yıldızoğlu, Murat & Sénégas, Marc-Alexandre & Salle, Isabelle & Zumpe, Martin, 2014. "Learning The Optimal Buffer-Stock Consumption Rule Of Carroll," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(04), pages 727-752, June.
    5. Isabelle Salle & Murat Yildizoglu & Martin Zumpe & Marc-Alexandre Sénégas, 2012. "Modelling social learning in an Agent-Based new keynesian macroeconomic model," Post-Print hal-00779045, HAL.
    6. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-1248, September.
    7. Glenn Ellison & Drew Fudenberg, 1995. "Word-of-Mouth Communication and Social Learning," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 93-125.
    8. Ludo Waltman & Nees Eck & Rommert Dekker & Uzay Kaymak, 2011. "Economic modeling using evolutionary algorithms: the effect of a binary encoding of strategies," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 21(5), pages 737-756, December.
    9. Judd, Kenneth L., 2006. "Computationally Intensive Analyses in Economics," Handbook of Computational Economics,in: Leigh Tesfatsion & Kenneth L. Judd (ed.), Handbook of Computational Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 17, pages 881-893 Elsevier.
    10. Arthur, W Brian, 1991. "Designing Economic Agents that Act Like Human Agents: A Behavioral Approach to Bounded Rationality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 353-359, May.
    11. Christopher D. Carroll, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55.
    12. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 1993. "Rules of Thumb for Social Learning," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 612-643, August.
    13. Ulrich Hoffrage & Torsten Reimer, 2004. "Models of Bounded Rationality: The Approach of Fast and Frugal Heuristics," management revue. Socio-economic Studies, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 15(4), pages 437-459.
    14. von Hippel, Eric & Franke, Nikolaus & Prügl, Reinhard, 2009. "Pyramiding: Efficient search for rare subjects," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1397-1406, November.
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    16. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1998. "The Theory of Learning in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061945, January.
    17. Arifovic, Jasmina, 1995. "Genetic algorithms and inflationary economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 219-243, August.
    18. Christopher D. Carroll, 2001. "A Theory of the Consumption Function, with and without Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 23-45, Summer.
    19. Binswanger, Johannes, 2011. "Dynamic decision making with feasibility goals: A procedural-rationality approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 219-228, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pascal Seppecher & Isabelle Salle & Dany Lang, 2016. "Is the Market Really a Good Teacher? Market Selection, Collective Adaptation and Financial Instability," GREDEG Working Papers 2016-15, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    2. repec:eee:jeborg:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:64-82 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    learning; bounded rationality; evolutionary algorithms; consumption rule;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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