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Understanding Peer Effects in Financial Decisions: Evidence from a Field Experiment

  • Noam Yuchtman

    (UC Berkeley)

  • Florian Ederer

    (UCLA)

  • Bruno Ferman

    (The George Washington University)

  • Leonardo Bursztyn

    (UCLA)

Using a high-stakes field experiment conducted with a financial brokerage, we implement a novel design to separately identify two channels of social influence in financial decisions, both widely studied theoretically. When someone purchases an asset, his peers may also want to purchase it, both because they learn from his choice ("social learning") and because his possession of the asset directly affects others' utility of owning the same asset ("social utility"). We find that both channels have statistically and economically significant effects on investment decisions. These results can help shed light on the mechanisms underlying herding behavior in financial markets.

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File URL: https://www.economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2013/paper_222.pdf
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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2013 Meeting Papers with number 222.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:222
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
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  16. Noam Yuchtman & Florian Ederer & Bruno Ferman & Leonardo Bursztyn, 2013. "Understanding Peer Effects in Financial Decisions: Evidence from a Field Experiment," 2013 Meeting Papers 222, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  17. Allcott, Hunt, 2011. "Social norms and energy conservation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1082-1095, October.
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  23. Allcott, Hunt, 2011. "Social norms and energy conservation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9), pages 1082-1095.
  24. Scott E. Carrell & Bruce I. Sacerdote & James E. West, 2011. "From Natural Variation to Optimal Policy? The Lucas Critique Meets Peer Effects," NBER Working Papers 16865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  26. Ian Ayres & Sophie Raseman & Alice Shih, 2009. "Evidence from Two Large Field Experiments that Peer Comparison Feedback Can Reduce Residential Energy Usage," NBER Working Papers 15386, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Bogaçhan Çelen & Shachar Kariv, 2004. "Distinguishing Informational Cascades from Herd Behavior in the Laboratory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 484-498, June.
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