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Whom to Observe?

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  • Bøg, Martin

Abstract

This paper considers the problem of a decision maker who is faced with a dynamic decision problem with several alternatives, and additionally can engage in prior consultation on one of the alternatives. Information received from others is coarse. When consulting on an alternative that the decision maker is pre-disposed to, she either consults someone that shares precisely her convictions, or she consults someone who is more ”picky” than herself. Optimality depends on the attractiveness of alternatives; when another alternative becomes sufficiently attractive the decision maker prefers a picky contact. When the decisionmaker consults on a lower ranked alternative, optimal consulting depends non-monotonically on the value of the alternative she is pre-disposed to. For high and low values of the pre-disposed alternative she prefers to consult someone with her own convictions, but for medium values she prefers to consult a picky contact. Finally a decision maker may prefer to consult on a lower ranked alternative.

Suggested Citation

  • Bøg, Martin, 2006. "Whom to Observe?," MPRA Paper 8773, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 14 May 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:8773
    as

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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/8773/1/MPRA_paper_8773.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    5. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1995. "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1176-1209, December.
    6. Rothschild, Michael, 1974. "A two-armed bandit theory of market pricing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 185-202, October.
    7. Martin W. Cripps & Godfrey Keller & Sven Rady, 2002. "Strategic Experimentation: The Case of Poisson Bandits," CESifo Working Paper Series 737, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Wing Suen, 2004. "The Self-Perpetuation of Biased Beliefs," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 377-396, April.
    9. Ellison, Glenn & Fudenberg, Drew, 1993. "Rules of Thumb for Social Learning," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 612-643, August.
    10. Brown, Jacqueline Johnson & Reingen, Peter H, 1987. " Social Ties and Word-of-Mouth Referral Behavior," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(3), pages 350-362, December.
    11. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-1451, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    bandit problem; observational learning; heterogeneity;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory

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