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The Power of Whispers: A Theory of Rumor, Communication and Revolution

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  • Yang Lu

    (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

  • Wing Suen

    (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Heng Chen

    (University of Hong Kong)

Abstract

We study the role rumors play in revolutions using a global game model. Agents with diverse private information rationally evaluate the informativeness of rumors about the regime strength. Without communication among agents, wild rumors are discounted and agents are generally less responsive to rumors than to trustworthy news. When agents can exchange views on the informativeness of rumors, a rumor against the regime would coordinate a larger mass of attackers than that without communication. The effect of communication can be so large that rumors can have a greater impact on mobilization than does fully trustworthy information.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2013 Meeting Papers with number 411.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:411

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  1. Sylvain Chassang & Gerard PadrĂ³ i Miquel, 2010. "Conflict and Deterrence under Strategic Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1821-1858, November.
  2. Chris Edmond, 2013. "Information Manipulation, Coordination, and Regime Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1422-1458.
  3. Carlsson, H. & Damme, E.E.C. van, 1993. "Global games and equilibrium selection," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-154416, Tilburg University.
  4. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse Shapiro, 2005. "Media Bias and Reputation," NBER Working Papers 11664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Darrell DUFFIE & Semyon MALAMUD & Gustavo MANSO, . "The Relative Contributions of Private Information Sharing and Public Information Releases to Information Aggregation," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 09-33, Swiss Finance Institute.
  6. Wing Suen, 2005. "Mutual Admiration Clubs," Departmental Working Papers _173, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics.
  7. Acemoglu, Daron & Ozdaglar, Asuman & ParandehGheibi, Ali, 2010. "Spread of (mis)information in social networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 194-227, November.
  8. Paul R. Milgrom, 1979. "Good Nevs and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Discussion Papers 407R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  9. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1993. "The Economics of Rumours," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(2), pages 309-27, April.
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