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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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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/37796/1/MPRA_paper_37796.pdf
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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/45210/8/MPRA_paper_45210.pdf
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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
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:37796
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  1. Fudenberg, Drew & Ellison, Glenn, 1995. "Word-of-Mouth Communication and Social Learning," Scholarly Articles 3196300, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 1993. "Rules of Thumb for Social Learning," Scholarly Articles 3196332, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Mengel, Friederike & Fosco, Constanza, 2007. "Cooperation through Imitation and Exclusion in Networks," MPRA Paper 5258, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Dekel, Eddie & Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K., 2004. "Learning to play Bayesian games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 282-303, February.
  5. Fernando Vega Redondo, 1996. "The evolution of walrasian behavior," Working Papers. Serie AD 1996-05, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  6. Apestgeguia, Jose & Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Jörg, 2005. "Imitation - Theory and Experimental Evidence," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 54, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  7. 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.
  8. Alós-Ferrer, Carlos & Weidenholzer, Simon, 2008. "Contagion and efficiency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 251-274, November.
  9. 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.
  10. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817.
  11. Abhijit Banerjee & Drew Fudenberg, 2010. "Word of Mouth Learning," Levine's Working Paper Archive 723, David K. Levine.
  12. Gale, Douglas & Kariv, Shachar, 2003. "Bayesian learning in social networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 329-346, November.
  13. 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.
  14. Timothy G. Conley & Christopher R. Udry, 2000. "Learning About a New Technology: Pineapple in Ghana," Working Papers 817, Economic Growth Center, Yale University, revised May 2004.
  15. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1998. "The Theory of Learning in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061945, March.
  16. Schlag, Karl H., 1996. "Which one should I imitate?," Discussion Paper Serie B 365, University of Bonn, Germany.
  17. Josephson, Jens & Matros, Alexander, 2000. "Stochastic Imitation in Finite Games," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 363, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 26 Nov 2002.
  18. Venkatesh Bala & Sanjeev Goyal, 1998. "Learning from Neighbours," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(3), pages 595-621.
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