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Social interactions and the influence of “extremists”

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  • Crawford, Ian
  • Harris, Donna

Abstract

A large literature has shown evidence that people are influenced by others, especially in group interactions. However, little is known about whether such influence remains after they have left the group. Using a modified dictator game and a structural choice-revealed preference approach, we measure an individual’s preferences before and after face-to-face interactions in a small group and then examine whether a change in preferences is observed after subjects have left the group and have to make their decisions alone. We find that social interactions do indeed change individuals’ preferences. Specifically, individuals whose preferences are extremely egoistic and also unchanging tend to influence others the most. These “left extremists” are more likely to be male and these effects are more prevalent amongst student subjects than non-student.

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  • Crawford, Ian & Harris, Donna, 2018. "Social interactions and the influence of “extremists”," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 238-266.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:153:y:2018:i:c:p:238-266
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2018.07.007
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Other-regarding preferences; Social interactions; Preference dynamics; Preference heterogeneity; Social conformity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations

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