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Bandwagon effect

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A literal "bandwagon", from which the metaphor is derived.
A literal "bandwagon", from which the metaphor is derived.

The bandwagon effect is an effect by which public opinion or behaviours can alter due to said actions and beliefs rallying amongst the public.[1] It is a phenomenon whereby the rate of uptake of beliefs, ideas, fads and trends increases with respect to the proportion of others who have already done so.[2] As more people come to believe in something, others also "hop on the bandwagon" regardless of the underlying evidence.

Following the actions or beliefs of others can occur because individuals prefer to conform, or because individuals derive information from others. Much of the influence of the bandwagon effect comes from the desire to ‘fit in’ with peers and by making similar selections as other’s people see this as a way to gain access to a particular social group.[3] An example of this is fashion trends where the increasing popularity of a certain garment or style encourages more people to "get on the bandwagon".[4]

When individuals make rational choices based on the information they receive from others, economists have proposed that information cascades can quickly form in which people decide to ignore their personal information signals and follow the behaviour of others.[5] Cascades explain why behaviour is fragile as people understand that their behaviour is based on a very limited amount of information. As a result, fads form easily but are also easily dislodged.


The definition of a bandwagon is a wagon which carries a band during the course of a parade, circus or other entertainment event.[6] The phrase "jump on the bandwagon" first appeared in American politics in 1848 when Dan Rice, a famous and popular circus clown of the time, used his bandwagon and its music to gain attention for his political campaign appearances. As his campaign became more successful, other politicians strove for a seat on the bandwagon, hoping to be associated with his success. Later, during the time of William Jennings Bryan's 1900 presidential campaign, bandwagons had become standard in campaigns,[7] and the phrase "jump on the bandwagon" was used as a derogatory term, implying that people were associating themselves with success without considering that with which they associated themselves.

In politics

The bandwagon effect occurs in voting:[8] It occurs on an individual scale where a voters opinion on vote preference can be altered due to the rising popularity of a candidate. [9]The aim for the change in preference is for the voter to end up picking the “winner’s side” in the end.’[10] Voters are more so persuaded to do so in elections that are non-private or when the vote is highly publicised. [11]The bandwagon effect has been applied to situations involving majority opinion, such as political outcomes, where people alter their opinions to the majority view.[12] Such a shift in opinion can occur because individuals draw inferences from the decisions of others, as in an informational cascade.[13]

In microeconomics

In microeconomics, bandwagon effects may play out in interactions of demand and preference.[14] The bandwagon effect arises when people's preference for a commodity increases as the number of people buying it increases. Consumers may choose to base their product decision based on others as preferences it may make them believe it is the superior product. This selection choice can be a result of directly observing the purchase choice of others or by observing the scarcity of a product compared to its competition as a result of the choice previous consumers have made. This scenario can also be seen in restaurants where the number of customers in a restaurant can persuade potential diners to eat there based on the perception that the food must be better than the competition due to its popularity.[3] This interaction potentially disturbs the normal results of the theory of supply and demand, which assumes that consumers make buying decisions exclusively based on price and their own personal preference.

In medicine

Medical bandwagons have been identified as "the overwhelming acceptance of unproved but popular ideas". They have led to inappropriate therapies for numerous patients, and have impeded the development of more appropriate treatment.[15]

In sports

One who supports a particular sports team, despite having shown no interest in that team until it started gaining success, can be considered a "bandwagon fan".[16]

In social networking

As an increasing number of people begin to use a specific social networking site or application, people are more likely to begin using those sites or applications. The bandwagon effect also effects random people that which posts are viewed and shared.[17]

In Fashion

The bandwagon effect can also affect the way the masses dress and can be responsible for clothing trends. People tend to want to dress in a manner that suites the current trend and will be influenced by those who they see often – normally celebrities. Such publicised figures will normally act as the catalyst for the style of the current period. Once a small group of consumers attempt to emulate a particular celebrity’s dress choice more people tend to copy the style due to the pressure or want to fit in and be liked by their peers. [18]

See also


  1. ^ Schmitt‐Beck, Rüdiger (2015), "Bandwagon Effect", The International Encyclopedia of Political Communication, American Cancer Society, pp. 1–5, doi:10.1002/9781118541555.wbiepc015, ISBN 978-1-118-54155-5, retrieved 2021-04-25
  2. ^ Colman, Andrew (2003). Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 77. ISBN 0-19-280632-7.
  3. ^ a b van Herpen, Erica; Pieters, Rik; Zeelenberg, Marcel (2009). "When demand accelerates demand: Trailing the bandwagon". Journal of Consumer Psychology. 19 (3): 302–312. doi:10.1016/j.jcps.2009.01.001. ISSN 1057-7408. JSTOR 45106190.
  4. ^ D. Stephen Long; Nancy Ruth Fox (2007). Calculated Futures: Theology, Ethics, and Economics. Baylor University Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-60258-014-5. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  5. ^ Bikhchandani, Sushil; Hirshleifer, David; Welch, Ivo (1992). "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change as Informational Cascades" (PDF). Journal of Political Economy. 100 (5): 992–1026. CiteSeerX doi:10.1086/261849. JSTOR 2138632. S2CID 7784814.
  6. ^ "Bandwagon". Archived from the original on 12 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-09.
  7. ^ "Bandwagon Effect". Retrieved 2007-03-09.
  8. ^ Nadeau, Richard; Cloutier, Edouard; Guay, J.-H. (1993). "New Evidence About the Existence of a Bandwagon Effect in the Opinion Formation Process". International Political Science Review. 14 (2): 203–213. doi:10.1177/019251219301400204. S2CID 154688571.
  9. ^ Barnfield, Matthew (2020-11-01). "Think Twice before Jumping on the Bandwagon: Clarifying Concepts in Research on the Bandwagon Effect". Political Studies Review. 18 (4): 553–574. doi:10.1177/1478929919870691. ISSN 1478-9299. S2CID 203053176.
  10. ^ Henshel, Richard L.; Johnston, William (1987). "The Emergence of Bandwagon Effects: A Theory". The Sociological Quarterly. 28 (4): 493–511. doi:10.1111/j.1533-8525.1987.tb00308.x. ISSN 0038-0253. JSTOR 4120670.
  11. ^ Zech, Charles E. (1975). "Leibenstein's Bandwagon Effect as Applied to Voting". Public Choice. 21: 117–122. doi:10.1007/BF01705954. ISSN 0048-5829. JSTOR 30022807. S2CID 154398418.
  12. ^ McAllister & Studlar 1991.
  13. ^ "Beware of the bandwagon effect, other cognitive biases". Retrieved 2017-12-08.
  14. ^ Leibenstein, Harvey (1950). "Bandwagon, Snob, and Veblen Effects in the Theory of Consumers' Demand". Quarterly Journal of Economics. 64 (2): 183–207. doi:10.2307/1882692. JSTOR 1882692.
  15. ^ Paumgartten, Francisco José Roma (2016). "Phosphoethanolamine: anticancer pill bandwagon effect". Cadernos de Saúde Pública. 32 (10): e00135316. doi:10.1590/0102-311X00135316. ISSN 0102-311X. PMID 27783758.
  16. ^ "bandwagon fan". Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  17. ^ "The bandwagon effect on participation in and use of a social networking site". ResearchGate. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  18. ^ Maxwell, Amita (2014). "Bandwagon effect and network externalities in market demand". Asian Journal of Management Research. 4: 527–532. CiteSeerX


External links

This page was last edited on 4 May 2021, at 02:16
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