Much of the information people use in their day-to-day lives comes not from a primary source but from communication with one's peers. Assuming there are benefits to gathering information (e.g., improvements in decisions made) as well as costs (e.g., time and effort), economic theory would suggest that agents optimize their decisions of how much information to gather through social means. Moreover, heterogeneity in either benefits or costs will lead to different optimal solutions for different agents, leaving open the possibility of equilibrium effects. I analyze theoretically the role of heterogeneity in prior beliefs in social learning and propose a laboratory experiment where the main treatment variation is the timing of (private) information disclosure to investigate if and how agents account for possible selection according to ex ante certainty into information gathering effort.
The colloquia are organised by the Centre for Experimental Social Sciences.