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Social learning and the shadow of the past

Heller, Yuval and Mohlin, Erik LU (2018) In Journal of Economic Theory 177. p.426-460
Abstract

In various environments new agents may base their decisions on observations of actions taken by a few other agents in the past. In this paper we analyze a broad class of such social learning processes, and study under what circumstances the initial behavior of the population has a lasting effect. Our results show that this question strongly depends on the expected number of actions observed by new agents. Specifically, we show that if the expected number of observed actions is: (1) less than one, then the population converges to the same behavior independently of the initial state; (2) between one and two, then in some (but not all) environments there are decision rules for which the initial state has a lasting impact on future... (More)

In various environments new agents may base their decisions on observations of actions taken by a few other agents in the past. In this paper we analyze a broad class of such social learning processes, and study under what circumstances the initial behavior of the population has a lasting effect. Our results show that this question strongly depends on the expected number of actions observed by new agents. Specifically, we show that if the expected number of observed actions is: (1) less than one, then the population converges to the same behavior independently of the initial state; (2) between one and two, then in some (but not all) environments there are decision rules for which the initial state has a lasting impact on future behavior; and (3) more than two, then in all environments there is a decision rule for which the initial state has a lasting impact.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Path dependence, Social learning, Steady state, Unique limiting behavior
in
Journal of Economic Theory
volume
177
pages
35 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85050286616
ISSN
0022-0531
DOI
10.1016/j.jet.2018.07.003
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
98223849-915d-4b2a-bfd0-b7c9d7a1fad6
date added to LUP
2018-08-15 11:42:50
date last changed
2020-09-30 05:39:17
@article{98223849-915d-4b2a-bfd0-b7c9d7a1fad6,
  abstract     = {<p>In various environments new agents may base their decisions on observations of actions taken by a few other agents in the past. In this paper we analyze a broad class of such social learning processes, and study under what circumstances the initial behavior of the population has a lasting effect. Our results show that this question strongly depends on the expected number of actions observed by new agents. Specifically, we show that if the expected number of observed actions is: (1) less than one, then the population converges to the same behavior independently of the initial state; (2) between one and two, then in some (but not all) environments there are decision rules for which the initial state has a lasting impact on future behavior; and (3) more than two, then in all environments there is a decision rule for which the initial state has a lasting impact.</p>},
  author       = {Heller, Yuval and Mohlin, Erik},
  issn         = {0022-0531},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {09},
  pages        = {426--460},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Journal of Economic Theory},
  title        = {Social learning and the shadow of the past},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jet.2018.07.003},
  doi          = {10.1016/j.jet.2018.07.003},
  volume       = {177},
  year         = {2018},
}