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Imitation-theory and experimental evidence

Apestiguia, J.; Huck, S.; Oechssler, J.; (2004) Imitation-theory and experimental evidence. (ELSE Working Papers 76). ESRC Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution: London, UK. Green open access

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We introduce a generalized theoretical approach to study imitation and subject it 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 significant effects of seemingly innocent changes in information. Moreover, the generalized imitation model predicts the differences between treatments well. The data 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.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: Imitation-theory and experimental evidence
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://else.econ.ucl.ac.uk/newweb/papers.php
Language: English
Additional information: Also see http://eprints.ucl.ac.uk/12710/
Keywords: JEL classification: C72, C91, C92, D43, L13. Evolutionary game theory, stochastic stability, imitation, Cournot markets, information, experiments, simulations
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Economics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/14586
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