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Naive learning in social networks: Imitating the most successful neighbor

  • Tsakas, Nikolas

This paper considers a model of observational learning in social networks. Every period, the agents observe the actions of their neighbors and their realized outcomes, and they imitate the most successful. First, we study the case where the network has finite population and we show that, regardless of the structure, the population converges to a monomorphic steady state, i.e. where every agent chooses the same action. Subsequently, we extend our analysis to infinitely large networks and we differentiate the cases where agents have bounded neighborhoods, with those where they do not. Under bounded neighborhoods, an action is diffused to the whole population if it is the only one initially chosen by infinitely many agents. If there exist more than one such actions, we provide an additional sufficient condition in the payoff structure, which ensures convergence for any network. Without the assumption of bounded neighborhoods, we show that an action can survive even if it is initially chosen by a single agent and also that a network can be in steady state without this being monomorphic.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 37796.

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Date of creation: 23 Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:37796
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  1. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1996. "The Theory of Learning in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 624, David K. Levine.
  2. Schlag, Karl H., 1996. "Which one should I imitate?," Discussion Paper Serie B 365, University of Bonn, Germany.
  3. Eddie Dekel & Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 2000. "Learning to Play Bayesian Games," Discussion Papers 1322, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science, revised Jul 2001.
  4. Schlag, Karl H., 1998. "Why Imitate, and If So, How?, : A Boundedly Rational Approach to Multi-armed Bandits," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 130-156, January.
  5. Jose Alpesteguia & Steffen Huck & Jörg Oechssler, 2003. "Imitation - Theory and Experimental Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 1049, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Banerjee, Abhijit & Fudenberg, Drew, 2004. "Word-of-mouth learning," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-22, January.
  7. Gale, Douglas & Kariv, Shachar, 2003. "Bayesian learning in social networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 329-346, November.
  8. repec:oup:qjecon:v:107:y:1992:i:3:p:797-817 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. A. Banerjee & Drew Fudenberg, 2010. "Word-of-Mouth Communication and Social Learning," Levine's Working Paper Archive 425, David K. Levine.
  10. Timothy G. Conley & Christopher R. Udry, 2005. "Learning about a new technology: pineapple in Ghana," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  11. Josephson, Jens & Matros, Alexander, 2004. "Stochastic imitation in finite games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 244-259, November.
  12. Allison, G. & Fudenberg, D., 1992. "Rules of Thumb for Social Learning," Working papers 92-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  13. K. Schlag, 2010. "Why Imitate, and if so, How? Exploring a Model of Social Evolution," Levine's Working Paper Archive 454, David K. Levine.
  14. Eshel, Ilan & Samuelson, Larry & Shaked, Avner, 1998. "Altruists, Egoists, and Hooligans in a Local Interaction Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 157-79, March.
  15. Fosco, Constanza & Mengel, Friederike, 2011. "Cooperation through imitation and exclusion in networks," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 641-658, May.
  16. repec:oup:restud:v:65:y:1998:i:3:p:595-621 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Alós-Ferrer, Carlos & Weidenholzer, Simon, 2008. "Contagion and efficiency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 251-274, November.
  18. Fernando Vega-Redondo, 1997. "The Evolution of Walrasian Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(2), pages 375-384, March.
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