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Limited depth of reasoning and failure of cascade formation in the laboratory

  • Kübler, Dorothea
  • Weizsäcker, Georg

We examine the robustness of information cascades in laboratory experiments. Apart from the situation in which each player can obtain a signal for free (as in the experiment by Anderson and Holt, 1997, American Economic Review), the case of costly signals is studied where players decide whether to obtain private information or not, at a small but positive cost. In the equilibrium of this game, only the first player buys a signal and chooses an urn based on this information whereas all following players do not buy a signal and herd behind the first player. The experimental results show that too many signals are bought and the equilibrium prediction performs poorly. To explain these observations, the depth of the subjects' reasoning process is estimated, using a statistical error-rate model. Allowing for different error rates on different levels of reasoning, we find that the subjects' inferences become significantly more noisy on higher levels of the thought process, and that only very short chains of reasoning are applied by the subjects.

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Paper provided by Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes in its series SFB 373 Discussion Papers with number 2001,3.

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Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:20013
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  1. Dale O. Stahl & Paul W. Wilson, 2010. "On Players' Models of Other Players: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Levine's Working Paper Archive 542, David K. Levine.
  2. Kraemer, Carlo & Nöth, Markus & Weber, Martin, 2000. "Information Aggregation with Costly Information and Random Ordering: Experimental Evidence," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 00-35, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  3. Costa-Gomes, Miguel & Crawford, Vincent P. & Broseta, Bruno, 1998. "Cognition and Behavior in Normal-Form Games: An Experimental Study," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt1vn4h7x5, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  4. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:107:y:1992:i:3:p:797-817 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Simon P. Anderson & Jacob K. Goeree & Charles A. Holt, 2002. "The Logit Equilibrium: A Perspective on Intuitive Behavioral Anomalies," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 21-47, July.
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  8. Richard Mckelvey & Thomas Palfrey, 1998. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Extensive Form Games," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 9-41, June.
  9. 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.
  10. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 1998. "Learning from the Behavior of Others: Conformity, Fads, and Informational Cascades," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 151-170, Summer.
  11. 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.
  12. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A., 2004. "A model of noisy introspection," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 365-382, February.
  13. R. McKelvey & T. Palfrey, 2010. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 510, David K. Levine.
  14. Huck, Steffen & Oechssler, Jorg, 2000. "Informational cascades in the laboratory: Do they occur for the right reasons?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 661-671, December.
  15. Anderson, Lisa R & Holt, Charles A, 1997. "Information Cascades in the Laboratory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 847-62, December.
  16. Sefton, Martin & Yavas, Abdullah, 1996. "Abreu-Matsushima Mechanisms: Experimental Evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 280-302, October.
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