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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. 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.
  2. Mengel, Friederike & Fosco, Constanza, 2007. "Cooperation through Imitation and Exclusion in Networks," MPRA Paper 5258, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. A. Banerjee & Drew Fudenberg, 2010. "Word-of-Mouth Communication and Social Learning," Levine's Working Paper Archive 425, David K. Levine.
  4. 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.
  5. Fernando Vega-Redondo, 1997. "The Evolution of Walrasian Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(2), pages 375-384, March.
  6. Timothy G. Conley & Christopher R. Udry, 2005. "Learning about a new technology: pineapple in Ghana," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  7. Apesteguia, Jose & Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Joerg, 2003. "Imitation - Theory and Experimental Evidence," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt3h0887tj, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  8. Bala, Venkatesh & Goyal, Sanjeev, 1998. "Learning from Neighbours," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(3), pages 595-621, July.
  9. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 1993. "Rules of Thumb for Social Learning," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 612-43, August.
  10. Schlag, Karl H., 1994. "Why Imitate, and if so, How? Exploring a Model of Social Evolution," Discussion Paper Serie B 296, University of Bonn, Germany.
  11. Schlag, Karl H., 1996. "Which one should I imitate?," Discussion Paper Serie B 365, University of Bonn, Germany.
  12. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1998. "The Theory of Learning in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061945, June.
  13. Alós-Ferrer, Carlos & Weidenholzer, Simon, 2008. "Contagion and efficiency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 251-274, November.
  14. Josephson, Jens & Matros, Alexander, 2004. "Stochastic imitation in finite games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 244-259, November.
  15. Gale, Douglas & Kariv, Shachar, 2003. "Bayesian learning in social networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 329-346, November.
  16. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
  17. Abhijit Banerjee & Drew Fudenberg, 2010. "Word of Mouth Learning," Levine's Working Paper Archive 723, David K. Levine.
  18. Karl H. Schlag, . "Why Imitate, and if so, How? A Bounded Rational Approach to Multi- Armed Bandits," ELSE working papers 028, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
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