Social Learning and the Adoption of Innovations

Charles F. Manski

in The Economy as an Evolving Complex System, III

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780195162592
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850495 | DOI:

Series: Santa Fe Institute Studies on the Sciences of Complexity

Social Learning and the Adoption of Innovations

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This chapter studies the evolution of technological innovations when agents face “fundamental” learning limits: these limits derive from the idea that certain features of the environment in which innovations are evaluated may not be statistically identified, forcing agents to make decisions in the face of ambiguity. It further assumes that agents are rational decision makers, but places the agents in a context in which alternative perspectives on the environment are observationally equivalent. Manski shows that this environment can lead to complex innovation dynamics and can replicate the classical S-shaped pattern of innovation adoption.

Keywords: evolution; technological innovations; fundamental learning limits; Manski; S-shaped pattern

Chapter.  6366 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Systems

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