Geoffrey Heal

Social Reinforcement: Cascades, Entrapment and Tipping

Coauthor(s): Howard Kunreuther.


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The actions of different agents sometimes reinforce each other. Examples are network effects and the threshold models used by sociologists as well as Harvey Leibensteins's "bandwagon effects." We model such situations as a game with increasing differences, and show that tipping of equilibria, cascading and clubs with entrapment are natural consequences of this mutual reinforcement. If there are several equilibria, one of which Pareto dominates, then the inefficient equilibria can be tipped to the efficient one, a result of interest in the context of coordination problems. We characterise the smallest tipping set. (JEL C72, D80, D 85, Z 13)

Source: American Economic Journals: Microeconomics
Exact Citation:
Heal, Geoffrey, and Howard Kunreuther. "Social Reinforcement: Cascades, Entrapment and Tipping." American Economic Journals: Microeconomics 2, no. 1 (February 1, 2010): 86-99.
Volume: 2
Number: 1
Pages: 86-99
Date: 1 2 2010