Understanding Mechanisms Underlying Peer Effects : Evidence from a Field Experiment on Financial Decisions ∗

@inproceedings{Bursztyn2013UnderstandingMU,
  title={Understanding Mechanisms Underlying Peer Effects : Evidence from a Field Experiment on Financial Decisions ∗},
  author={Leonardo Bursztyn and Florian Ederer and Bruno Ferman and Noam Yuchtman},
  year={2013}
}
Using a high-stakes field experiment conducted with a financial brokerage, we implement a novel design to separately identify two channels of social influence in financial decisions, both widely studied theoretically. When someone purchases an asset, his peers may also want to purchase it, both because they learn from his choice (“social learning”) and because his possession of the asset directly affects others’ utility of owning the same asset (“social utility”). We randomize whether one… CONTINUE READING

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