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How Do People Learn by Listening to Others? Experimental Evidence from Thailand

Author

Listed:
  • Andrew Healy

    (Loyola Marymount University)

Abstract

This paper presents experimental evidence about how individuals learn from information that comes from inside versus outside their ethnic group. In the experiment, Thai subjects observed information that came from Americans and other Thais that they could use to help them answer a series of questions. Two main findings emerge. First, subjects display overconfidence in their own opinions and place too low a value on the information that they observe. Second, conditional on this overconfidence, subjects weigh American information relative to Thai information in a nearly optimal way. The data also indicates that subjects appear to understand that outside information has extra value because people from different groups know different things and so have an opportunity to learn from each other.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Healy, 2005. "How Do People Learn by Listening to Others? Experimental Evidence from Thailand," Experimental 0512006, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpex:0512006
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 59. 44 double-spaced pages text, 15 pages experimental instructions and tables
    as

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    File URL: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de/econ-wp/exp/papers/0512/0512006.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Munshi, Kaivan & Myaux, Jacques, 2006. "Social norms and the fertility transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 1-38, June.
    2. Cesarini, David & Sandewall, Orjan & Johannesson, Magnus, 2006. "Confidence interval estimation tasks and the economics of overconfidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 453-470, November.
    3. 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.
    4. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842.
    5. Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel, 2003. "Networks, social learning, and technology adoption: The case of deworming drugs in kenya," Natural Field Experiments 00312, The Field Experiments Website.
    6. Tanya Menon & Jeffrey Pfeffer, 2003. "Valuing Internal vs. External Knowledge: Explaining the Preference for Outsiders," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 497-513, April.
    7. Keren, Gideon, 1987. "Facing uncertainty in the game of bridge: A calibration study," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 98-114, February.
    8. Munshi, Kaivan, 2004. "Social learning in a heterogeneous population: technology diffusion in the Indian Green Revolution," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 185-213, February.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    laboratory experiment; economic development; Bayesian updating; behavioral economics; learning;

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services

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