Re: poly: Why Oldies Stations?

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Mon Apr 06 1998 - 09:18:30 PDT

Carl F. writes:
>Here's a model that I believe explains this process. Suppose there are a
>number of possible items in a certain category to choose from (items of
>clothing, dishes, types of music). Any particular item will benefit me a
>certain amount each time I indulge in it. The utility of each item is
>fixed, but I can't know its utility until I try it.
>... Under these assumptions, the rational thing to do is
>to stop experimenting after some fraction of one's lifespan, and then stick
>with what one knows is best.

This model is sufficient to explain the fact that young people experiment
more than old people. But I'm not so sure it explains how most young
exploring people tend to experiment with very new music, seemingly mostly
ignoring the music older people like. If it was just a matter of matching
music to individual characteristics, why focus on brand new music? You
could explain this by saying that new music is just much better for all
types of people, but if so more older people should switch to it.

In the case of computer operating systems, young people focus on the latest
version, but older people switch to the latest a lot.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614
Received on Mon Apr 6 16:22:24 1998

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