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December 03, 2013

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Deviation From The Mean

The idea of 'peer' spending is another one of those things where a multitude of other variables comes into play, which make the theory almost redundant. Therefore abstraction in this case is problematic.

But if we were to abstract, any theory of 'peer' must be at a general level, it cannot be individualised. One individual cannot cause a trend, unless maybe it is a celebrity, which is where advertising comes into the equation. The 'great peer' is on the TV screen.

The things that cause spend reductions and spend spikes are not to be found in 'peer' theory.

I would say that society today (in the UK at least) is more consumer conscious than it was 30 years ago, that was created by design, it didn't happen by accident.

rogerh

Bosses travel in herds. I used to dread one chap who after a conference would return with a raft of damnfool ideas.

There is an entire industry devoted to flogging old wine in new bottles. Remember PERT and CPA, then we got Management by Objectives, BPR, Matrix Management and Six Sigma to name but a few. As they used to say of academics 'take something very simple - and make it very hard'. But really the whole process is about drumming up razzamataz, raising FUD in the chairperson's mind and moving cash from one pocket to another - was ever thus.

Another sales angle is the necessity for firms to 'appear up-to-date' with the latest gizmos - otherwise bright people will see their careers stagnating and thus quit and move on. All makes work and drives the wheels round and round. As for the OBR and Osbo, just a small part of the same game.

Mark C

Very interesting to compare this with the millenium bridge wobble.

Standard practice was to assume lateral loading (as feet are not central there is a tiny sideways push as we walk from each foot to keep us moving in a straght line)all even out and their effect is small. However, as the bridge reacted, it altered the behaviour of the people on the bridge: making more people walk in step and thus excite the bridge further. Only when people felt uncomfortable did this stop.

Would be interesting if the modelling concept that came out of the research into the bridge could help in modelling peer effects. Some areas of activity will act like "normal" bridges others like "wobbly" ones.
http://www2.eng.cam.ac.uk/~den/ICSV9_06.htm
http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)1084-0702(2001)6:6(412)

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