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Diverging Opinions

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  • James Andreoni
  • Tymofiy Mylovanov

Abstract

People often see the same evidence but draw opposite conclusions, becoming polarized over time. More surprisingly, disagreements persist even when they are commonly known. We derive a model and present an experiment showing that opinions can diverge when one-dimensional opinions are formed from two-dimensional information. When subjects are given sufficient information to reach agreement, however, disagreement persists. Subjects discount information when it is filtered through the actions of others, but not when it is presented directly, indicating that common knowledge of disagreement may be the result of excessive skepticism about the decision-making skills of others. (JEL C92, D82, D83)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Microeconomics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 209-32

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:4:y:2012:i:1:p:209-32

Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.4.1.209
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References

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  1. Tilman Borgers & Angel Hernando-Veciana & Daniel Krahmer, 2007. "When are signals complements or substitutes?," Economics Working Papers we072111, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  2. David Eil & Justin M. Rao, 2011. "The Good News-Bad News Effect: Asymmetric Processing of Objective Information about Yourself," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 114-38, May.
  3. Hirshleifer, David, 2001. "Investor Psychology and Asset Pricing," MPRA Paper 5300, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. John Geanakoplos & Heracles M. Polemarchakis, 1982. "We Can't Disagree Forever," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 639, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Ludwig, Alexander & Zimper, Alexander, 2007. "Attitude polarization," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-66, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  6. Kondor, Péter, 2011. "The more we know on the fundamental, the less we agree on the price," CEPR Discussion Papers 8455, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Geanakoplos, John D. & Polemarchakis, Heraklis M., 1982. "We can't disagree forever," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 192-200, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Tilman Borgers & Angel Hernanco-Veciana & Daniel Krohmer, 2010. "When are Signals Complements or Substitutes," Discussion Papers 1488, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.

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