Observational learning in an uncertain world

Daron Acemoglu*, Munther Dahleh, Asuman Ozdaglar, Alireza Tahbaz-Salehi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

7 Scopus citations


We study a model of observational learning in social networks in the presence of uncertainty about agents' type distributions. Each individual receives a private noisy signal about a payoff-relevant state of the world, and can observe the actions of other agents who have made a decision before her. We assume that agents do not observe the signals and types of others in the society, and are also uncertain about the type distributions. We show that information is correctly aggregated when preferences of different types are closely aligned. On the other hand, if there is sufficient heterogeneity in preferences, uncertainty about type distributions leads to potential identification problems, preventing asymptotic learning. We also show that even though learning is guaranteed to be incomplete ex ante, there are sample paths over which agents become certain about the underlying state of the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2010 49th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2010
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781424477456
StatePublished - 2010
Event49th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2010 - Atlanta, United States
Duration: Dec 15 2010Dec 17 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control
ISSN (Print)0191-2216


Conference49th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Control and Optimization


Dive into the research topics of 'Observational learning in an uncertain world'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this