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Herding driven by the desire to differ

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Document pages: 14 pages

Abstract: Observational learning often involves congestion: an agent gets lower payofffrom an action when more predecessors have taken that action. This preferenceto act differently from previous agents may paradoxically increase all but oneagent s probability of matching the actions of the predecessors. The reason isthat when previous agents conform to their predecessors despite the preferenceto differ, their actions become more informative. The desire to matchpredecessors actions may reduce herding by a similar reasoning.

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