Imitation - Theory and Experimental Evidence
Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Department of Economics and Business (DEB)
University College London - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
University of Heidelberg - Alfred Weber Institute for Economics
CESifo Working Paper Series No. 1049
We introduce a generalized theoretical approach to study imitation models and subject the models to rigorous experimental testing. In our theoretical analysis we find that the different predictions of previous imitation models are due to different informational assumptions, not to different behavioral rules. It is more important whom one imitates rather than how. In a laboratory experiment we test the different theories by systematically varying information conditions. We find that the generalized imitation model predicts the differences between treatments well. The data also provide support for imitation on the individual level, both in terms of choice and in terms of perception. But imitation is not unconditional. Rather individuals' propensity to imitate more successful actions is increasing in payoff differences.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 47
Keywords: evolutionary game theory, stochastic stability, imitation, Cournot markets, experiments
JEL Classification: C72, C91, C92, D43, L13
Date posted: November 6, 2003
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