Non-monotone social learning

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    We revisit the canonical binary-state model of social learning to investigate the possibility of non-monotone learning: ceteris paribus, with some predecessor(s) switching to actions that reveal greater confidence in one state of the world, agents nevertheless become more confident in the other. A necessary and sufficient condition for non-monotone learning is provided in an illustrative setting where agents are either uninformed or partially informed by binary private signals. In a general setting with continuous private signals, we obtain a sufficient condition for non-monotone learning that does not rely on the shape of the underlying information structures apart from a couple of simple boundary requirements. As a result, a social learning process that completes eventually can be well approximated in a way such that non-monotone learning and anti-imitation are bound to happen.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)565-579
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
    Early online date26 Mar 2021
    Publication statusPublished - May 2021


    • Anti-Imitation
    • Information structure
    • Social learning


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