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The Weight of Personal Experience: an Experimental Measurement

  • Zacharias Maniadis
  • Joshua Miller

We present an experiment to address the question of whether a piece of information is more influential if it comes from experience, rather than from another source. We employ a novel experimental design which controls for the value of information and other potentially important confounding factors present in related studies. Overall, our results show that an event that is personally experienced has a stronger influence on subsequent behavior than an observed event with equally valuable information content. Importantly, in early rounds when information is more valuable from a rational viewpoint, this overweighting of personal experience is not statistically significant. JEL Classification Numbers: C90; C91; Keywords: Experiments; Learning; Observation; Reinforcement Learning; Belief-Based Learning

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 452.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:452
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  1. Nick Feltovich, 2000. "Reinforcement-Based vs. Belief-Based Learning Models in Experimental Asymmetric-Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(3), pages 605-642, May.
  2. repec:bla:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:3:p:733-762 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  4. Olivier Armantier, 2001. "Does Observation Influence Learning?," Department of Economics Working Papers 01-04, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
  5. Jacob K. Goeree & Thomas R. Palfrey & Brian W. Rogers & Richard D. McKelvey, 2006. "Self-Correcting Information Cascades," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000211, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. John Duffy & Nick Feltovich, 1997. "Does Observation of Others Affect Learning in Strategic Environments? An Experimental Study," Levine's Working Paper Archive 592, David K. Levine.
  7. Gneezy, U. & Potters, J.J.M., 1997. "An experiment on risk taking and evaluation periods," Other publications TiSEM da6ba1bf-e15c-41b2-ae95-c, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
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