To Belong or to Be Different? Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment in China
We examined whether people conform to or diverge from the most popular choice among their friends by conducting a large-scale field experiment on a leading social-networking site in China. Our setting allowed us to minimize confounding effects such as pre-existing taste similarities between a subject and her friends, the need to create a social identity, and the possibility of learning by observing friends’ choices. Surprisingly, we found that subjects were more likely to diverge from the popular choice among their friends as the popularity of that choice increased. The effect was more pronounced when they were reminded that their choices were visible to their friends. These results suggest that even members of a collectivist culture have a dominating need to be different.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Quoc-Anh Do & Stephen Leider & Markus M. Mobius & Tanya Rosenblat, 2009.
"What Do We Expect from Our Friends?,"
09-2009, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
- Stephen Leider & Markus M. Mobius & Tanya Rosenblat & Quoc-Anh Do, 2010. "What Do We Expect From Our Friends?," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/5qi1l9g8bm8, Sciences Po.
- Leider, Stephen & Mobius, Markus & Rosenblat, Tanya & Do, Quoc-Ahn, 2010. "What Do We Expect from Our Friends?," Staff General Research Papers 32103, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
- Stephen Leider & Markus M. Mobius & Tanya Rosenblat & Quoc-Anh Do, 2009. "What Do We Expect from Our Friends?," Microeconomics Working Papers 23053, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
- John List & Steven Levitt, 2008.
"Field experiments in economics: The past, the present, and the future,"
Artefactual Field Experiments
00079, The Field Experiments Website.
- Levitt, Steven D. & List, John A., 2009. "Field experiments in economics: The past, the present, and the future," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-18, January.
- Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2008. "Field Experiments in Economics: The Past, The Present, and The Future," NBER Working Papers 14356, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Horrace, William C. & Oaxaca, Ronald L., 2006. "Results on the bias and inconsistency of ordinary least squares for the linear probability model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 321-327, March.
- Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817.
- repec:feb:artefa:0087 is not listed on IDEAS
- Hongbin Cai & Yuyu Chen & Hanming Fang, 2007.
"Observational Learning: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Field Experiment,"
NBER Working Papers
13516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hongbin Cai & Yuyu Chen & Hanming Fang, 2009. "Observational Learning: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 864-82, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:1215. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Nicholas Economides)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.