Mueller-Frank, Manuel and Mallesh Pai (2016), "Social Learning with Costly Search." American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 8(1), 83-109.


We study a sequential social learning model where agents privately acquire information by costly search. Search costs of agents are private, and are independently and identically distributed. We show that asymptotic learning occurs if and only if search costs are not bounded away from zero. We explicitly characterize equilibria for the case of two actions, and show that the probability of late moving agents taking the suboptimal action vanishes at a linear rate. Social welfare converges to the social optimum as the discount rate converges to one if and only if search costs are not bounded away from zero.