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Opinion Dynamics under Conformity

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Author Info

  • Berno Buechel

    (University of Hamburg)

  • Tim Hellmann

    (Institute of Mathematical Economics)

  • Stefan Kloessner

    (Saarland University)

Abstract

We present a model of opinion formation where individuals repeatedly engage in discussion and update their opinion in a social network similarly to the DeGroot model. Abstracting from the standard assumption that individuals always report their opinion truthfully, agents in our model interact strategically in the discussion such that their stated opinion can di er from their true opinion. The incentive to do so is induced by agents' preferences for conformity. Highly conforming agents will state an opinion which is close to their neighbors' while agents with low level of conformity may be honest or even overstate their opinion. We model opinion formation as a dynamic process and identify conditions for convergence to consensus. Studying the consensus in detail, we show that an agent's social in uence on the consensus opinion is increasing in network centrality and decreasing in the level of conformity. Thus, lower conformity fosters opinion leadership. Moreover, assuming that the initial opinion is a noisy signal about some true state of the world, we consider the mean squared error of the consensus as an estimator for the true state of the world. We show that a society is \wise", i.e. the mean squared error is smaller, if players who are well informed are less conform, while uninformed players conform more with their neighbors.

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File URL: http://www.imw.uni-bielefeld.de/n/upload/paper/757b505cfd34c64c85ca5b5690ee5293.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bielefeld University, Center for Mathematical Economics in its series Working Papers with number 469.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bie:wpaper:469

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References

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  1. G. Ellison & D. Fudenberg, 2010. "Rules of Thumb for Social Learning," Levine's Working Paper Archive 435, David K. Levine.
  2. Berno Buechel & Tim Hellmann & Michael M. Pichler, 2011. "The Dynamics of Continuous Cultural Traits in Social Networks," Working Papers 457, Bielefeld University, Center for Mathematical Economics.
  3. Fudenberg, Drew & Ellison, Glenn, 1995. "Word-of-Mouth Communication and Social Learning," Scholarly Articles 3196300, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-77, October.
  5. Lorenz, Jan, 2005. "A stabilization theorem for dynamics of continuous opinions," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 355(1), pages 217-223.
  6. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
  7. Bala, V. & Goyal, S., 1995. "Learning from Neighbors," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 9549-/A, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
  8. Hayakawa, Hiroaki & Venieris, Yiannis P, 1977. "Consumer Interdependence via Reference Groups," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 599-615, June.
  9. Andrea Galeotti & Sanjeev Goyal, 2007. "A Theory of Strategic Diffusion," Economics Discussion Papers 635, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  10. Ariely, Dan & Levav, Jonathan, 2000. " Sequential Choice in Group Settings: Taking the Road Less Traveled and Less Enjoyed," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 279-90, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Manuel Foerster & Michel Grabisch & Agnieszka Rusinowska, 2013. "Anonymous social influence," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" halshs-00913235, HAL.
  2. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00639677 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Manuel Förster & Ana Mauleon & Vincent Vannetelbosch, 2013. "Trust and Manipulation in Social Networks," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 13065, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  4. Michel Grabisch & Agnieszka Rusinowska, 2011. "A model of influence based on aggregation functions," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 11058, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  5. Pietro Battiston & Luca Stanca, 2014. "Boundedly Rational Opinion Dynamics in Directed Social Networks: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 267, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2014.
  6. Michel Grabisch & Agnieszka Rusinowska, 2013. "A Model of Influence Based on Aggregation Function," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00906367, HAL.
  7. Manuel Förster & Michel Grabisch & Agnieszka Rusinowska, 2012. "Ordered Weighted Averaging in Social Networks," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 12056, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.

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