Network Architecture and the Left-Right Spectrum
AbstractWe study a model of opinion formation and analyze the link between network architecture and the â€œleft-right spectrumâ€ that frequently characterizes opinions and beliefs. We correct a key result of DeMarzo, Vayanos and Zwiebel (QJE, 2003) who claim that after some time, an agentâ€™s position on a set of different issues will always be either â€œleftâ€ on all of those issues or â€œrightâ€ on all of those issues. We provide counterexamples to this claim and show that in the long-run an agentâ€™s position can flip-flop between â€œleftâ€ on all issues and â€œrightâ€ on all issues indefinitely. However, we provide necessary and sufficient conditions for a stable left-right characterization of opinions to be possible in the long run. Roughly, a flip-flop will occur when agents give relatively little weight to the opinions of agents with similar political positions (including themselves). Following this intuition, we show that a simple sufficient condition is that agents become â€œstubbornâ€ over time and give little weight to the opinions of others. Finally, we characterize classes of networks in which it is possible for agents to flip-flop between â€œleftâ€ and â€œrightâ€ indefinitely. We argue that qualitatively, these results are robust to alternative models of opinion formation.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics.
Volume (Year): 11 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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Web page: http://www.degruyter.com
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
- A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
- L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
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