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Information Cascades and Bandwagoning

The term information cascade refers to people observing the actions or opinions of others and then letting them influence their own decision about something. Information cascades are very interesting since they are all around us. Think of that time you and your friends didn’t know the answer to an iClicker question and you asked your one friend next to you who was actually paying attention and then all of you answer what he chose. Information cascades also happen on much larger scales. Remember when LeBron James took his talents to South Beach and then everyone became a Miami Heat fan overnight? One person (LeBron) decided that the Heat were a good team, so many other people decided to follow suit and become fans of the Heat. This is much more commonly referred to as “bandwagoning”..


A much more recent and more widely covered information cascade was the 2014 World Cup, more specifically, the US Men’s National Team. Unless you lived under a rock this summer, you heard about the World Cup and noticed the drastic upsurge of interest in a sport that Americans usually don’t care about at all. Everywhere you looked, you saw people wearing soccer jerseys and people at bars or restaurants with their eyes glued to the television. While there are some “die-hard” fans of soccer out there in the United States, we as a country are not nearly as fervent about this sport as almost every other country. For example, everything gets shut down in another country when their national team is playing. In Brazil, even the Nike soccer store was closed during the game. This information cascade stems partly from the fact that the World Cup only happens every four years, so when it comes around, people get really excited for it. Everyone wants to be a part of the action, especially when the team is doing well. When it comes down to it, it’s just like every other sport, if all your friends are fans, then you’re going to want to be a fan too.


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