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Do We Follow Private Information when We Should? Laboratory Evidence on Naive Herding

Author

Listed:
  • Christoph March

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

  • Sebastian Krügel

    (Max Planck Institute of Economics - Max Planck Institute of Economics)

  • Anthony Ziegelmeyer

    (Max Planck Institute of Economics - Max Planck Institute of Economics)

Abstract

We investigate whether experimental participants follow their private information and contradict herds in situations where it is empirically optimal to do so. We consider two sequences of players, an observed and an unobserved sequence. Observed players sequentially predict which of two options has been randomly chosen with the help of a medium quality private signal. Unobserved players predict which of the two options has been randomly chosen knowing previous choices of observed and with the help of a low, medium or high quality signal. We use preprogrammed computers as observed players in half the experimental sessions. Our new evidence suggests that participants are prone to a 'social-confirmation' bias and it gives support to the argument that they naively believe that each observable choice reveals a substantial amount of that person's private information. Though both the 'overweighting-of-private-information' and the 'social-con firmation' bias coexist in our data, participants forgo much larger parts of earnings when herding naively than when relying too much on their private information. Unobserved participants make the empirically optimal choice in 77 and 84 percent of the cases in the human-human and computer-human treatment which suggests that social learning improves in the presence of lower behavioral uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph March & Sebastian Krügel & Anthony Ziegelmeyer, 2012. "Do We Follow Private Information when We Should? Laboratory Evidence on Naive Herding," PSE Working Papers halshs-00671378, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00671378
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00671378
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Marco Cipriani & Antonio Guarino, 2009. "Herd Behavior in Financial Markets: An Experiment with Financial Market Professionals," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(1), pages 206-233, March.
    2. Jacob K. Goeree & Thomas R. Palfrey & Brian W. Rogers & Richard D. McKelvey, 2007. "Self-Correcting Information Cascades," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 733-762.
    3. Georg Weizsacker, 2010. "Do We Follow Others When We Should? A Simple Test of Rational Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2340-2360, December.
    4. Richard Mckelvey & Thomas Palfrey, 1998. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Extensive Form Games," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 1(1), pages 9-41, June.
    5. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
    6. Anthony Ziegelmeyer & Christoph March & Sebastian Kr?gel, 2013. "Do We Follow Others When We Should? A Simple Test of Rational Expectations: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2633-2642, October.
    7. Dorothea Kübler & Georg Weizsäcker, 2004. "Limited Depth of Reasoning and Failure of Cascade Formation in the Laboratory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 425-441.
    8. Anderson, Lisa R & Holt, Charles A, 1997. "Information Cascades in the Laboratory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 847-862, December.
    9. Anthony Ziegelmeyer & Frédéric Koessler & Juergen Bracht & Eyal Winter, 2010. "Fragility of information cascades: an experimental study using elicited beliefs," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(2), pages 121-145, June.
    10. Christoph March, 2011. "Adaptive social learning," PSE Working Papers halshs-00572528, HAL.
    11. Andrew Chesher, 2010. "Instrumental Variable Models for Discrete Outcomes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(2), pages 575-601, March.
    12. Christoph March & Anthony Ziegelmeyer, 2009. "Behavioral Social Learning," Jena Economic Research Papers 2009-105, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    13. Adeline Delavande, 2008. "Measuring revisions to subjective expectations," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 43-82, February.
    14. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Christoph March, 2011. "Adaptive social learning," Working Papers halshs-00572528, HAL.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anthony Ziegelmeyer & Christoph March & Sebastian Kr?gel, 2013. "Do We Follow Others When We Should? A Simple Test of Rational Expectations: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2633-2642, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Information cascades; Laboratory Experiments; Naive herding;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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