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Self-efficacy beliefs and imitation: A two-armed bandit experiment

Stefania Innocenti () and Robin Cowan ()

European Economic Review, 2019, vol. 113, issue C, 156-172

Abstract: It is generally believed that individuals imitate others to gain status, minimise regret or simply ameliorate their performance. Psychology provides a complementary explanation: imitation becomes appealing when agents have little faith in their abilities. We investigate the extent to which self-efficacy beliefs affect agents’ propensities to imitate others. We propose an experimental task, which is a modified version of the two-armed bandit. We measure participants’ self-assessed self-efficacy, then study individual learning. Subsequently, we measure how individuals use the information they gather observing a randomly selected group leader. We find that, in stable environments, a 1% increase in individual self-efficacy reduces the propensity to imitate others by 3%.

Keywords: Learning; Imitation; Laboratory experiment; Self-efficacy beliefs (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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