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Naive Learning in Social Networks: Convergence, Influence and Wisdom of Crowds

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  • Jackson, Matthew O.
  • Golub, Benjamin

Abstract

We study learning and influence in a setting where agents communicate according to an arbitrary social network and naively update their beliefs by repeatedly taking weighted averages of their neighbors' opinions. A focus is on conditions under which beliefs of all agents in large societies converge to the truth, despite their naive updating. We show that this happens if and only if the influence of the most influential agent in the society is vanishing as the society grows. Using simple examples, we identify two main obstructions which can prevent this. By ruling out these obstructions, we provide general structural conditions on the social network that are sufficient for convergence to truth. In addition, we show how social influence changes when some agents redistribute their trust, and we provide a complete characterization of the social networks for which there is a convergence of beliefs. Finally, we survey some recent structural results on the speed of convergence and relate these to issues of segregation, polarization and propaganda.

Suggested Citation

  • Jackson, Matthew O. & Golub, Benjamin, 2007. "Naive Learning in Social Networks: Convergence, Influence and Wisdom of Crowds," Coalition Theory Network Working Papers 9101, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:feemct:9101
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.9101
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    File URL: https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/9101/files/wp070064.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fudenberg, Drew & Takahashi, Satoru, 2011. "Heterogeneous beliefs and local information in stochastic fictitious play," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 100-120, January.
    2. Pan, Zhengzheng, 2010. "Trust, influence, and convergence of behavior in social networks," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 69-78, July.
    3. Kets, W., 2008. "Networks and learning in game theory," Other publications TiSEM 7713fce1-3131-498c-8c6f-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    4. Daron Acemoglu & Munther A. Dahleh & Ilan Lobel & Asuman Ozdaglar, 2011. "Bayesian Learning in Social Networks," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(4), pages 1201-1236.
    5. Zhengzheng Pan & Robert P. Gilles, 2010. "Naive Learning and Game Play in a Dual Social Network Framework," Economics Working Papers 10-01, Queen's Management School, Queen's University Belfast.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Institutional and Behavioral Economics;

    JEL classification:

    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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