An experimental test of advice and social learning

Boǧaçhan Celen, Shachar Kariv, Andrew Schotter

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Social learning describes any situation in which individuals learn by observing the behavior of others. In the real world, however, individuals learn not just by observing the actions of others but also from seeking advice. This paper introduces advice giving into the standard social-learning experiment of Çelen and Kariv (Çelen, B., S. Kariv. 2005. An experimental test of observational learning under imperfect information. Econom. Theory 26 (3) 677-699). The experiments are designed so that both pieces of information-action and advice-are equally informative (in fact, identical) in equilibrium. Despite the informational equivalence of advice and actions, we find that subjects in a laboratory social-learning situation appear to be more willing to follow the advice given to them by their predecessor than to copy their action, and that the presence of advice increases subjects' welfare.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1687-1701
    Number of pages15
    JournalManagement Science
    Issue number10
    StatePublished - Oct 2010


    • Experiment
    • Naï
    • Social learning
    • Ve advice
    • Word-of-mouth learning

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Strategy and Management
    • Management Science and Operations Research


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