Université de Fribourg

Under-connected and over-connected networks: the role of externalities in strategic network formation

Buechel, Berno ; Hellmann, Tim

In: Review of Economic Design, 2012, vol. 16, no. 1, p. 71–87

Since the seminal contribution of Jackson and Wolinsky (J Econ Theory 71(1):44–74, 1996) it has been widely acknowledged that the formation of social networks exhibits a general conflict between individual strategic behavior and collective outcome. What has not been studied systematically are the sources of inefficiency. We approach this omission by analyzing the role of positive and negative...

Université de Fribourg

Peer effects on perseverance

Buechel, Berno ; Mechtenberg, Lydia ; Petersen, Julia

(Working Papers SES ; 488)

Successful performance – be it in school, at the job, or in sports activities – requires perseverance, i.e., persistent work on a demanding task. We investigate in a controlled laboratory experiment how an individual’s social environment affects perseverance. We find evidence for two kinds of peer effects: being observed by a peer can serve as a commitment device, while observing a peer can...

Université de Fribourg

The strength of weak leaders - an experiment on social influence and social learning in teams

Buechel, Berno ; Klössner, Stefan ; Lochmüller, Martin ; Rauhut, Heiko

(Working Papers SES ; 486)

We investigate how the selection process of a leader affects team performance with respect to social learning. We use a lab experiment in which an incentivized guessing task is repeated in a star network with the leader at the center. Leader selection is either based on competence, on self-confidence, or made at random. Teams with random leaders do not underperform compared to rather competent...

Université de Fribourg

The swing voter's curse in social networks

Buechel, Berno ; Mechtenberg, Lydia

(Working Papers SES ; 485)

We study private communication in social networks prior to a majority vote on two alternative policies. Some (or all) agents receive a private imperfect signal about which policy is correct. They can, but need not, recommend a policy to their neighbors in the social network prior to the vote. We show theoretically and empirically that communication can undermine efficiency of the vote and hence...