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Consensus, contagion and clustering in a space-time model of public opinion formation

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  • Ianni, Antonella
  • Corradi, Valentina

Abstract

We study a simple model of public opinion formation that posits that interaction between neighbouring agents leads to bandwagons in the dynamics of individual opinions, as well as in that of the aggregate process. We show that in different specifications of the model, there is a tendency for the process to show consensus on one of the two competing opinions. We show how a publicly available poll of current public opinion may lead to a form of contagion, by which public opinion tends to agree with the poll. We point out that, in the absence of a poll, the process displays the feature that, after long time spans, a sequence of states occur which, when viewed locally, remain almost stationary and are characterized by large clusters of individuals of the same opinion. The running metaphor we use is that of a model of pre-electoral public opinion formation, with two candidates running. We provide some heuristic considerations on the implication that these findings could have in terms of space-time allocation of fundings in an electoral campaign.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton in its series Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics with number 0009.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2000
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Handle: RePEc:stn:sotoec:0009

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  1. Morris, Stephen, 2000. "Contagion," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 57-78, January.
  2. Valentina Corradi & Antonella Ianni, . ""Ergodicity and Clustering in Opinion Formation''," CARESS Working Papres 98-10, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  3. Antonella Ianni, . "Learning Correlated Equilibria in Potential Games," Penn CARESS Working Papers 34ac2118b0340df9732abdd0b, Penn Economics Department.
  4. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1985. "Standardization, Compatibility, and Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 70-83, Spring.
  5. Blume Lawrence E., 1993. "The Statistical Mechanics of Strategic Interaction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 387-424, July.
  6. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1998. "Learning in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2222, David K. Levine.
  7. Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.
  8. Stephen Morris, 1997. "Interaction Games: A Unified Analysis of Incomplete Information, Local Interaction, and Random Matching," Research in Economics 97-08-072e, Santa Fe Institute.
  9. Michihiro, Kandori & Rob, Rafael, 1998. "Bandwagon Effects and Long Run Technology Choice," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 30-60, January.
  10. Aderlini, L. & Ianni, A., 1993. "Path Dependence and Learning from Neighbours," Papers 186, Cambridge - Risk, Information & Quantity Signals.
  11. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, December.
  12. Ellison, Glenn, 2000. "Basins of Attraction, Long-Run Stochastic Stability, and the Speed of Step-by-Step Evolution," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 17-45, January.
  13. Glen Ellison, 2010. "Learning, Local Interaction, and Coordination," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391, David K. Levine.
  14. Piketty, Thomas, 2000. "Voting as Communicating," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 169-91, January.
  15. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
  16. Eshel, I. & Samuelson, L. & Shaked, A., 1996. "Altruists, Egoists and Hooligans in a Local Interaction Model," Working papers 9612r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  17. Lee, In Ho & Valentinyi, Akos, 2000. "Noisy Contagion without Mutation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 47-56, January.
  18. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
  19. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-40, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Ianni, A. & Corradi, V., 2001. "The dynamics of public opinion under majority rules," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0109, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  2. João Amaro de Matos & Pedro Barros, 2004. "Social Norms and the Paradox of Elections’ Turnout," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 121(1), pages 239-255, October.

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