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Diverging Opinions

  • James Andreoni
  • Tymofiy Mylovanov

People often see the same evidence but draw opposite conclusions, becoming polarized over time. More surprisingly, disagreements persist even when they are commonly known. We derive a model and present an experiment showing that opinions can diverge when one-dimensional opinions are formed from two-dimensional information. When subjects are given sufficient information to reach agreement, however, disagreement persists. Subjects discount information when it is filtered through the actions of others, but not when it is presented directly, indicating that common knowledge of disagreement may be the result of excessive skepticism about the decision-making skills of others. (JEL C92, D82, D83)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Microeconomics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 209-32

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:4:y:2012:i:1:p:209-32
Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.4.1.209
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  1. Alexander Zimper & Alexander Ludwig, 2007. "Attitude polarization," MEA discussion paper series 07155, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  2. John Geanakoplos & Heracles M. Polemarchakis, 1982. "We Can't Disagree Forever," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 639, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Tilman Borgers & Angel Hernando-Veciana & Daniel Krahmer, 2007. "When are signals complements or substitutes?," Economics Working Papers we072111, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
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  5. Kondor, Péter, 2011. "The more we know on the fundamental, the less we agree on the price," CEPR Discussion Papers 8455, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. Chakravarthi Narasimhan & Chuan He & Eric Anderson & Lyle Brenner & Preyas Desai & Dmitri Kuksov & Paul Messinger & Sridhar Moorthy & Joseph Nunes & Yuval Rottenstreich & Richard Staelin & George Wu &, 2005. "Incorporating Behavioral Anomalies in Strategic Models," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 361-373, December.
  8. Geanakoplos, John D. & Polemarchakis, Heraklis M., 1982. "We can't disagree forever," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 192-200, October.
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