Superstition and Rational Learning

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Superstition and Rational Learning

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Title: Superstition and Rational Learning
Author: Levine, David; Fudenberg, Drew

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Citation: Fudenberg, Drew, and David K. Levine. 2006. Superstition and rational learning. American Economic Review 96, no. 3: 630-651.
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Abstract: We argue that some, but not all, superstitions can persist when learning is rational and players are patient, and illustrate our argument with an example inspired by the Code of Hammurabi. The code specified an “appeal by surviving in the river” as a way of deciding whether an accusation was true. According to our theory, a mechanism that uses superstitions two or more steps off the equilibrium path, such as “appeal by surviving in the river,” is more likely to persist than a superstition where the false beliefs are only one step off the equilibrium path.
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