IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

A comparison of endogenous and exogenous timing in a social learning experiment

  • Meub, Lukas
  • Proeger, Till
  • Hüning, Hendrik
Registered author(s):

    This paper experimentally investigates social learning in a two-agent prediction game with both exogenous and endogenous ordering of decisions and a continuous action space. Given that individuals regularly fail to apply rational timing, we refrain from implementing optimal timing of decisions conditional on signal strength. This always renders it optimal to outwait the other player regardless of private signals and induces a gamble on the optimal timing and action. In this setting, we compare exogenous and endogenous ordering in terms of informational efficiency, strategic delay and social welfare. We find that more efficient observational learning leads to more accurate predictions in the endogenous treatments and increases informational efficiency compared to the benchmark exogenous treatment. Overall, subjects act sensitively to waiting costs, with higher costs fostering earlier decisions that reduce informational efficiency. For a simple implementation of waiting costs, subjects more successfully internalize information externalities by adjusting their timing according to signal strength. Simultaneous decisions in endogenous ordering avoid observational learning and compensate the higher degree of rational decisions. Overall, endogenous timing has no net effect on social welfare, as gains in accuracy are fully compensated by waiting costs. Our results hold relevance for social learning environments characterized by a continuous action space and the endogenous timing of decisions.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by University of Goettingen, Department of Economics in its series Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers with number 167.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:cegedp:167
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Platz der Göttinger Sieben 3, 37073 Göttingen
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2010. "A theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom and cultural change as informational Cascades," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1193, David K. Levine.
    2. Alevy, Jonathan E. & Haigh, Michael S. & List, John A., 2003. "Information Cascades: Evidence From A Field Experiment With Financial Market Professionals," Working Papers 28608, University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    3. Frederic Koessler & Anthony Ziegelmeyer & Juergen Bracht & Eyal Winter, 2008. "Fragility of Information Cascades: An Experimental Study using Elicited Beliefs," Jena Economic Research Papers 2008-094, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    4. Marco Cipriani & Antonio Guarino, 2005. "Herd Behavior in a Laboratory Financial Market," Experimental 0502002, EconWPA.
    5. Drehmann, Mathias & Oechssler, Joerg & Roider, Andreas, 2003. "Herding and Contrarian Behavior in Financial Markets: An Internet Experiment," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt6zf5469f, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    6. Boğaçhan Çelen & Kyle Hyndman, 2012. "An experiment of social learning with endogenous timing," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 251-268, September.
    7. Vincent P. Crawford & Nagore Iriberri, 2007. "Level-k Auctions: Can a Nonequilibrium Model of Strategic Thinking Explain the Winner's Curse and Overbidding in Private-Value Auctions?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(6), pages 1721-1770, November.
    8. Gale, D. & Chamley, C., 1992. "Information Revelation and Strategic Delay in a Model of Investment," Papers 10, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    9. Nagel, Rosemarie, 1995. "Unraveling in Guessing Games: An Experimental Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1313-26, December.
    10. Anthony Ziegelmeyer & Kene Boun My & Jean-Christophe Vergnaud & Marc Willinger, 2006. "Strategic Delay and Rational Imitation in the Laboratory," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2005-35, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    11. Sgroi, D., 2000. "The Right Choice at the Right Time: a Herding Experiment in Endogenous Time," Economics Papers 2000-w15, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    12. Weizsäcker, Georg, 2008. "Do We Follow Others When We Should? A Simple Test of Rational Expectations," IZA Discussion Papers 3616, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Frisell, Lars, 2003. " On the Interplay of Informational Spillovers and Payoff Externalities," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(3), pages 582-92, Autumn.
    14. Plott, Charles & Hung, Angela, 1998. "Information Cascades: Replication and an Extension to Majority Rule and Conformity Rewarding Institutions," Working Papers 1051, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    15. Levin, Dan & Peck, James, 2008. "Investment dynamics with common and private values," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 114-139, November.
    16. 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.
    17. Fahr, René & Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2011. "Who follows the crowd—Groups or individuals?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 200-209.
    18. Jianbo Zhang, 1997. "Strategic Delay and the Onset of Investment Cascades," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(1), pages 188-205, Spring.
    19. Stahl, Dale II & Wilson, Paul W., 1994. "Experimental evidence on players' models of other players," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 309-327, December.
    20. repec:oup:qjecon:v:107:y:1992:i:3:p:797-817 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    22. Gul, Faruk & Lundholm, Russell, 1995. "Endogenous Timing and the Clustering of Agents' Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 1039-66, October.
    23. Nöth, Markus & Weber, Martin, 2000. "Information Aggregation with Random Ordering: Cascades and Overconfidence," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 00-34, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    24. Stahl Dale O. & Wilson Paul W., 1995. "On Players' Models of Other Players: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 218-254, July.
    25. Dorothea Kübler & Georg Weizs�cker, 2004. "Limited Depth of Reasoning and Failure of Cascade Formation in the Laboratory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 425-441.
    26. Anderson, Lisa R, 2001. "Payoff Effects in Information Cascade Experiments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(4), pages 609-15, October.
    27. Ivanov, Asen & Levin, Dan & Peck, James, 2013. "Behavioral biases in endogenous-timing herding games: An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 25-34.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:cegedp:167. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.