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Rational Debate and One-Dimensional Conflict

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  • David Spector

Abstract

This paper studies repeated communication regarding a multidimensional collective decision in a large population. When preferences coincide but beliefs about the consequences of the various decisions diverge, it is shown, under some specific assumptions, that public communication causes the disagreement between beliefs either to vanish or to become one-dimensional at the limit. Multidimensional disagreement indeed allows for many directions of communication, including some that are orthogonal to the conflict, along which agents can communicate credibly. The possible convergence toward a one-dimensional conflict where no further communication takes place may be related to the empirically observed geometry ofthe political conflict in many countries.

Suggested Citation

  • David Spector, 2000. "Rational Debate and One-Dimensional Conflict," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 181-200.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:1:p:181-200.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/003355300554700
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    1. Berentsen, Aleksander & Bruegger, Esther & Loertscher, Simon, 2008. "Learning, public good provision, and the information trap," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 998-1010, June.
    2. Dekel, Eddie & Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K., 2004. "Learning to play Bayesian games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 282-303, February.
    3. Stephen Morris, 2001. "Political Correctness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 231-265, April.
    4. Juan Carlos Berganza, 2000. "Politicians, voters and electoral processes: an overview," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 24(3), pages 501-543, September.
    5. Luca Anderlini & Dino Gerardi & Roger Lagunoff, 2012. "Communication and Learning," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 419-450.
    6. Stephen Morris, 1998. "An Instrumental Theory of Political Correctness," Discussion Papers 1209, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    7. Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2010. "Persuasion by Cheap Talk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2361-2382, December.
      • Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2006. "Persuasion by Cheap Talk," Working Papers 2006-10, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, revised Oct 2009.
    8. Ronny Razin & Gilat Levy, 2004. "Multidimentional Cheap Talk," 2004 Meeting Papers 184, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Amal Sanyal & Kunal Sengupta, 2005. "Reputation, Cheap Talk and Delegation," Game Theory and Information 0501001, EconWPA.
    10. Chakraborty, Archishman & Harbaugh, Rick, 2007. "Comparative cheap talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 70-94, January.
      • Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2004. "Comparative Cheap Talk," Working Papers 2004-08, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    11. Puppe, Clemens, 2016. "The single-peaked domain revisited: A simple global characterization," Working Paper Series in Economics 97, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering.
    12. Peter M. DeMarzo & Dimitri Vayanos & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 2003. "Persuasion Bias, Social Influence, and Unidimensional Opinions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 909-968.
    13. Bernard Caillaud & Jean Tirole, 2007. "Consensus Building: How to Persuade a Group," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1877-1900, December.
    14. Levy, Gilat & Razin, Ronny, 2004. "On the limits of communication in multidimensional cheap talk," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 545, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    15. Glazer, Jacob & Rubinstein, Ariel, 2001. "Debates and Decisions: On a Rationale of Argumentation Rules," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 158-173, August.
    16. Luca Anderlini & Dino Gerardi & Roger Lagunoff, 2014. "Do Actions Speak Louder than Words?," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 355, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    17. Piketty, Thomas, 1999. "The information-aggregation approach to political institutions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 791-800, April.
    18. Henry, Emeric, 2008. "The informational role of supermajorities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 2225-2239, October.
    19. Bernard Caillaud & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Consensus building: How to persuade a group," Working Papers halshs-00590459, HAL.
    20. Luca Anderlini & Dino Gerardi & Roger Lagunoff, 2014. "Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words? Auditing, Disclosure, and Verification in Organizations," Working Papers gueconwpa~14-14-04, Georgetown University, Department of Economics, revised 13 Jun 2015.
    21. Ottaviani, Marco & Sorensen, Peter, 2001. "Information aggregation in debate: who should speak first?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 393-421, September.
    22. Aleksander Berentsen & Esther Bruegger & Simon Loertscher, 2005. "Learning, voting and the information trap," Diskussionsschriften dp0516, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    23. Anderlini, Luca & Gerardi, Dino & Lagunoff, Roger, 2016. "Auditing, disclosure, and verification in decentralized decision problems," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 393-408.
    24. Miguel Ballester & Guillaume Haeringer, 2011. "A characterization of the single-peaked domain," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 36(2), pages 305-322, February.

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