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The dynamics of public opinion under majority rules

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  • Ianni, A.
  • Corradi, V.

Abstract

This note explains the process of public opinion formation via a locally interactive, space-time analysis. The model we use is a special case of the general framework for modelling social interaction proposed in Blume and Durlauf (2001). In the reduced form of the model we study how each individual, when faced with the choice of one, out of two, opinions, tends to conform to the opinion held by the majority of her neighbours. We consider different, symmetric and asymmetric, majority rules. Depending on the specific behavioral rule, the aggregate process of opinion formation may display contagion on one specific opinion, or consensus among all individuals in the population, or co-existence of both opinions. Whenever consensus obtains, we observe the formation of homogeneous areas (clusters) that seem almost stationary along the dynamics. Keywords; majority rules, public opinion, contagion, co-existence, clustering, local interaction

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Paper provided by Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton in its series Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics with number 0109.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2001
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Handle: RePEc:stn:sotoec:0109

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  1. Brock,W.A. & Durlauf,S.N., 2000. "Discrete choice with social interactions," Working papers 7, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  2. Ianni, Antonella & Corradi, Valentina, 2000. "Consensus, contagion and clustering in a space-time model of public opinion formation," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0009, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  3. Lee, In Ho & Valentinyi, Akos, 2000. "Noisy Contagion without Mutation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 47-56, January.
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