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Do We Follow Others When We Should Outside the Lab? Evidence from the AP Top 25

34 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2010 Last revised: 16 Sep 2013

Daniel F. Stone

Bowdoin College - Department of Economics

Basit Zafar

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Date Written: June 1, 2012

Abstract

We use data from the Associated Press U.S. college football poll to analyze the ex-post optimality of social learning in a non-lab setting. The poll is a weekly subjective ranking of the top 25 teams, voted on by over 60 sports journalists. The aggregate ranks are publicly observable each week before voters update their personal ranks, so voters can potentially learn from their peers. Our results indicate that, while voters do learn from their peers to some extent, the informativeness of peer ranks appears to be under-valued.

Keywords: Social Learning, Conformity, Herding, Peers, Networks

JEL Classification: D80, D83, D84

Suggested Citation

Stone, Daniel F. and Zafar, Basit, Do We Follow Others When We Should Outside the Lab? Evidence from the AP Top 25 (June 1, 2012). Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1628136 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1628136

Daniel F. Stone

Bowdoin College - Department of Economics ( email )

Brunswick, ME 04011
United States
6463387833 (Phone)

Basit Zafar (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of New York ( email )

33 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10045
United States

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