Collective Progress: Dynamics of Exit Waves
We introduce a framework for studying collective search by teams. Discoveries are correlated over time and governed by a Brownian path, where search speed is jointly controlled. Agents individually choose when to cease search and implement their best discovery. We characterize equilibrium and optimal policies. Search speeds are constant within active alliances and depend on complementarities between members. A drawdown stopping boundary governs each agent’s search termination. The consequent exit waves, whereby possibly heterogeneous agents cease search simultaneously, exhibit deterministic sequencing but stochastic timing. We highlight environments with lower than optimal equilibrium speeds and search durations, and different exit waves.