This paper is the first to use the WeChat platform, one of the largest social networks, to conduct an online experiment of artificial investment games. We investigate how people’s forecasts about the financial market and investment decisions are shaped by whether they can observe others’ forecasts and whether they engage in public or private investment decisions. We find that with forecast sharing, subjects’ forecasts converge but in different directions across groups; consequently, forecast sharing does not lead to better forecasts nor more individually rational investment decisions. Whether or not subjects engage in public investment decisions does not significantly affect forecasts or investment.
Bibliographical noteThe online version of this article ( https://doi.org/10.1007/s10683-019-09632-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
We thank the editor Charles Noussair and three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, which helped us improve the manuscript. We are grateful to Jiong Li and Shenzhen Quantum Net Technology Co., LTD for sharing WeChat user pools and providing web-based experimental programs for our study. We acknowledge the excellent research assistance from Ran Kang and Junjie Ren, and the support provided by Qianhai Institute for Innovative Research (QIIR). We also thank Liang Guo, Arthur Schram and conference participants in the China Meeting of the Econometric Society (Chengdu), the International Workshop on Experimental Economics (Xiamen), the Asian Meeting of the Econometric Society (Hong Kong), the Experimental Finance 2017 (Nice), the 13th Artificial Economics Conference (Tianjin), the Behavioral and Experimental Conference (Dalian) and the 2019 Asian-Pacific Meeting of ESA (Abu Dhabi), as well as seminar participants at Chinese University of Hong Kong, Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Nankai University, Sun Yat-sen University and Xiamen University for their valuable comments.
- Online experiment