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Wise crowds or wise minorities?

Author

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  • Christoph Brunner
  • Jacob K. Goeree

Abstract

This paper reports results from social learning experiments where subjects choose between two options and each subject has a small chance of being perfectly informed about which option is correct. In treatment "sequence", subjects observe the entire sequence of predecessors' choices while in treatment "no-sequence" they only observe the number of times each option has been chosen. The theoretical predictions are that subjects follow their immediate predecessors in treatment sequence and follow the minority in treatment no-sequence (Callander and H�rner, 2009). The former prediction is borne out in the data, but subjects tend to follow the majority in treatment no-sequence. We observe substantial heterogeneity in levels of strategic thinking, as predicted by level-k and Cognitive Hierarchy. While these models reproduce some features of our data, their fit is poor because of the assumed best-response behavior. Allowing for some degree of "trembling" improves the fit significantly, especially if subjects are aware that others tremble, as in logit-QRE. The "noisy introspection" model proposed by Goeree and Holt (2004), which combines different levels of thinking with error-prone behavior, best describes the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Brunner & Jacob K. Goeree, 2009. "Wise crowds or wise minorities?," IEW - Working Papers 439, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:439
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    File URL: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp_iew/iewwp439.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mathias Drehmann & Jörg Oechssler & Andreas Roider, 2005. "Herding and Contrarian Behavior in Financial Markets: An Internet Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1403-1426, December.
    2. Drehmann, Mathias & Oechssler, Jorg & Roider, Andreas, 2007. "Herding with and without payoff externalities -- an internet experiment," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 391-415, April.
    3. Marco Cipriani & Antonio Guarino, 2005. "Herd Behavior in a Laboratory Financial Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1427-1443, December.
    4. Goeree, Jacob K. & Holt, Charles A., 2004. "A model of noisy introspection," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 365-382, February.
    5. Dorothea Kübler & Georg Weizsäcker, 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.
    6. Lones Smith & Peter Sorensen, 2000. "Pathological Outcomes of Observational Learning," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 371-398, March.
    7. 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.
    8. Ottaviani, Marco & Sorensen, Peter, 2001. "Information aggregation in debate: who should speak first?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 393-421, September.
    9. Callander, Steven & Hörner, Johannes, 2009. "The wisdom of the minority," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(4), pages 1421-1439.2, July.
    10. Subir Bose & Gerhard Orosel & Marco Ottaviani & Lise Vesterlund, 2008. "Monopoly pricing in the binary herding model," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 37(2), pages 203-241, November.
    11. Vincent P. Crawford & Miguel A. Costa-Gomes & Nagore Iriberri, 2010. "Strategic Thinking," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000001148, David K. Levine.
    12. Jacob K. Goeree & Thomas R. Palfrey & Brian W. Rogers & Richard D. McKelvey, 2007. "Self-Correcting Information Cascades," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 733-762.
    13. Jacob Goeree & Thomas Palfrey & Brian Rogers, 2006. "Social learning with private and common values," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 28(2), pages 245-264, June.
    14. Vincent P. Crawford & Nagore Iriberri, 2007. "Fatal Attraction: Salience, Naïveté, and Sophistication in Experimental "Hide-and-Seek" Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1731-1750, December.
    15. Colin F. Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho & Juin-Kuan Chong, 2004. "A Cognitive Hierarchy Model of Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 861-898.
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    Cited by:

    1. Asen Ivanov & Dan Levin & James Peck, 2009. "Hindsight, Foresight, and Insight: An Experimental Study of a Small-Market Investment Game with Common and Private Values," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1484-1507, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social learning; experiments; quantal response equilibrium; level-k models; noisy introspection;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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