Bandwagon is a term that everyone might have heard many times in various public events. Bandwagon is made up of two words – ‘Band’ and ‘Wagon’; a wagon is something that usually carries a band during a parade, circus, or other public entertainment events. There was a famous and popular circus clown at around 1848 named Dan Rice. He used his bandwagon and its music to gain some attention for his political campaign and thus the phrase “Jump on the bandwagon“ first appeared.
As the campaign became more and more successful, other politicians were also interested to get a seat on the bandwagon, in a hope to get associated with his success. Later, in the time of William Jennings Bryan’s in around the 1900 presidential campaign, bandwagons were the ones that had become standard in the campaigns, and thus after this, the phrase “jump on the bandwagon” was used as a critical term. It implied that people were associating themselves with success without even considering the thing they had associated themselves with. They were only aiming for power and position and not the actual things.
The bandwagon effect is originally a phenomenon where the rate and chances of the uptake of varying degrees of beliefs, ideas, facts, and trends increase in number because it has been already adopted by various other people. The bandwagon effect is primarily characterized by the probability of individual adoption increasing when we consider the proportion who have already adopted, in other words people adopt the strategy more and more when they see that it has already been successfully adopted by other people as well. As more people come and began to believe in something, others also join them in the same flock even though they do not know even the underlying evidence of it.
The tendency of an individual to follow the actions or the beliefs of other people can occur because it is a normal human tendency of individuals to directly prefer to confirm it, or because individuals derive information from others and rely on them with more confidence. Both explanations have been used in evidence to confirm this in various psychological experiments. Here, in this era, people tend to believe more on what other people have already done. They think that if the other person has done something or is doing something then the work must be fine. They never think about the pros and cons of the work. They just join them without even a specific reason.
When individuals make rational kind of choices that are based on the information which they have received from others, they usually make bad choices in this duration. Some economists have also proposed that the information cascades can be formed quickly in which people decide to just ignore their information instincts and blindly follow the behavior of others and what others are doing. The behavior of an individual is fragile, and people tend to understand that they are based on limited information. As a result, the craze within them forms up very easily but is also easily degenerated. Such informational effects have been used to explain political bandwagons.
In the case of microeconomics, the bandwagon effects may be based on the interactions of the demand and their preference. We can say that the bandwagon effect arises when the preferences of the people for a commodity increase as the number of people willing to buy it goes on increasing. This interaction might potentially disturb the normal results of the theory of supply and demand, which mainly assumes that the customers make decisions of buying which are solely based on price and their personal preference. Gary Becker, an economist has even argued that the bandwagon effects could be so strong so that it can make the demand curve slope upward.
The bandwagon effect occurs in the case of voting as well. people only vote for those candidates or parties that are bit likely to succeed and vote them with the hope of being on the winner’s side in the end. The bandwagon effect has been applied to many situations that involve a majority of opinion, such as the political outcomes, where people tend to change their opinions and go to the majority view. Such kind of a shift in opinion can occur because individuals seek inferences from the decisions taken by others, as in a herd type behavior (like in a flock of sheep, all the sheep remain with each other, and the path of one is followed by other). Such cases can also be seen in the case of sports. One who supports a particular sports team, despite having shown no interest in that team only till it started gaining success, can be considered a “bandwagon fan”. This means that if a person loves a game it is because that particular game is so famous that a majority of people love and thus become their favorite.
Over the period, it has become completely understood as a typical form of manipulation to influence the people to join with an ongoing trend in the field of politics or consumer behavior. The only understanding people have is that since so many other people are doing it, it must be good, or at least acceptable by others. This phenomenon fails to examine the individual behavior, potential, particular values, and beliefs of the individual to see if the ongoing trend is something that they can choose to actively take part in. It does not give an individual a chance to prove their worth and the kind of mindset they have towards work.