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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 12 No. 3 (Summer 1998)

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

Article Citation

Bikhchandani, Sushil, David Hirshleifer, and Ivo Welch. 1998. "Learning from the Behavior of Others: Conformity, Fads, and Informational Cascades." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 12(3): 151-170.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.3.151

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.

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Authors

Bikhchandani, Sushil (UCLA)
Hirshleifer, David (U MI)
Welch, Ivo (UCLA)

JEL Classifications

D83: Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief

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