Private and Social Learning with Endogenous Timing: An Experimental Analysis

34 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2013 Last revised: 25 Jan 2015

See all articles by Julian C. Jamison

Julian C. Jamison

University of Exeter Business School - Department of Economics; World Bank eMBeD (Mind, Behavior, and Development); Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); Innovations for Poverty Action

David M. Owens

Haverford College

Glenn Woroch

University of California, Berkeley; Compass Lexecon; Georgetown Center for Business & Public Policy

Date Written: November 1, 2014

Abstract

We conducted laboratory experiments to investigate how private and public information affect the selection and timing of technology adoption. Our experiments extend the standard herding model to more accurately represent the innovation decision problem. Subjects drew private signals and observed actions of their peer group before making an irreversible choice between a safe and a risky innovation. Free to choose the timing of their adoption, equilibrium behavior dictates adoption of the innovation favored by the first private signal. Nevertheless, roughly half of subjects delayed adoption beyond the first round. When they did adopt, subjects gave more weight to their private signals than to their peers' actions. The speed and accuracy of adoption decisions improved when subjects observed their peers' decisions, even when subjects' payoffs were statistically independent --- as if observation exerts "peer pressure'' on subjects. Finally we examined several plausible behavior rules and conclude that subjects find it profitable, on average, to wait until the second round and then follow their private signals.

Keywords: social learning, herding, information cascades, technology adoption

JEL Classification: C91, C92, D83, O31

Suggested Citation

Jamison, Julian C. and Owens, David M. and Woroch, Glenn, Private and Social Learning with Endogenous Timing: An Experimental Analysis (November 1, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2295611 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2295611

Julian C. Jamison

University of Exeter Business School - Department of Economics ( email )

Streatham Court
Exeter, EX4 4RJ
United Kingdom

World Bank eMBeD (Mind, Behavior, and Development) ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) ( email )

30 Wadsworth Street, E53-320
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Innovations for Poverty Action ( email )

1731 Connecticut Ave, 4th floor
New Haven, CT 20009
United States

David M. Owens

Haverford College ( email )

Haverford, PA 19041
United States
610-896-4295 (Phone)

Glenn Woroch (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

Department of Economics
549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
510-642-4308 (Phone)
510-642-6615 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~woroch/

Compass Lexecon ( email )

1111 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94607
United States
510-285-1266 (Phone)
510-285-1245 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.compasslexecon.com/professionals/bio?id=141

Georgetown Center for Business & Public Policy ( email )

3700 O Street, NW
Washington, DC 20057
United States
202-687-3686 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://cbpp.georgetown.edu/

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
38
Abstract Views
551
PlumX Metrics