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Taking the Road Less Traveled: Does Conversation Eradicate Pernicious Cascades?

Author

Listed:
  • Henry Cao

    (University of North Carolina)

  • David Hirshleifer

    (Fisher College of Business, Ohio State University)

Abstract

We offer a model in which sequences of individuals often converge upon poor decisions and are prone to fads, despite being able to communicate both past payoff outcomes and the private signals underlying past choices. This reflects direct and indirect action-based informational externalities; and conversational externalities - the failure of individuals to take into account the benefits their conversations confer upon later individuals. In contrast with previous cascades literature, cascades here are spontaneously dislodged and in general have a probability less than one of lasting forever. Furthermore, the ability of individuals to communicate can reduce average decision accuracy and welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Henry Cao & David Hirshleifer, 2004. "Taking the Road Less Traveled: Does Conversation Eradicate Pernicious Cascades?," Game Theory and Information 0412001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:0412001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hirshleifer, David & Teoh, Siew Hong, 2008. "Thought and Behavior Contagion in Capital Markets," MPRA Paper 9142, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 2005. "Information Cascades and Observational Learning," Working Paper Series 2005-22, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    informational cascades; social learning; herding; social efficiency;

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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