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Whitaker Ideas Forum: Doris Laepple, Learning by doing and learning from advice and peers: Experimental evidence on their importance and relationship

February 14 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Speaker(s): Doris Laepple

Affiliation: Environment, Development and Sustainability

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Farmers use a multitude of sources to gather agricultural information including expert advice, neighbours, peers, as well as own experimentation. However, empirical evidence on the importance of and relationship between different learning sources is scarce. We conduct economic experiments with 270 participants measuring learning by doing, advice taking and learning from peers. We explore the learning process within each domain and assess the relationship between learning by doing, our two measures of learning from others as well as personality traits of the participants. Our findings indicate that participants improve their performance by following advice and their peers’ opinions. However, while participants learn by themselves and from their peers, we do not find evidence for learning from advice. This can be explained by a lack of feedback provided in the advice game. Personality traits and gender also play an important role in participants’ learning ability and advice responsiveness.