We report on an experiment that distinguishes between rational social learning and behavioral information source bias. Subjects are asked to correctly guess the current binary state of the world. Differently from other social learning studies, subjects must choose between receiving a private, noisy signal about the current state or observing the past guesses of other subjects in the prior period. Our design varies the persistence of the state across time, which determines which information source is optimal, enabling us to separate subjects who choose information optimally from those who excessively use either social information (“herd animals”) or private information (“lone wolves”). We find a sizable proportions of both behavioral types in our experimental data as well as in the data collected by others.
|Publication status||Published - 23 Sep 2019|