Learning from the Behavior of Others: Conformity, Fads, and Informational Cascades

Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 151-70, Summer 1998

Posted: 1 Dec 2008  

Sushil Bikhchandani

University of California, Los Angeles - Anderson School of Management

David A. Hirshleifer

University of California, Irvine - Paul Merage School of Business; NBER

Ivo Welch

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Abstract

Learning by observing the past decisions of others can help explain some otherwise puzzling phenomena about human behavior. For example, why do people tend to converge on similar behavior? Why is mass behavior prone to error and fads? The authors argue that the theory of observational learning, and particularly of informational cascades, has much to offer economics, business strategy, political science, and the study of criminal behavior.

Suggested Citation

Bikhchandani, Sushil and Hirshleifer, David A. and Welch, Ivo, Learning from the Behavior of Others: Conformity, Fads, and Informational Cascades. Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 151-70, Summer 1998. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1288968

Sushil Bikhchandani

University of California, Los Angeles - Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States
310-206-2686 (Phone)
310-825-1581 (Fax)

David A. Hirshleifer (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Paul Merage School of Business ( email )

Irvine, CA California 92697-3125
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.uci.edu/dhirshle/

NBER ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Ivo Welch

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
C519
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States
310-825-2508 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ivo-welch.info

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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