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Debunking Rumors in Networks


  • Luca P. Merlino
  • Paolo Pin
  • Nicole Tabasso


We study the diffusion of a true and a false message (the rumor) in a social network. Upon hearing a message, individuals may believe it, disbelieve it, or debunk it through costly verification. Whenever the truth survives in steady state, so does the rumor. Communication intensity in itself is irrelevant for relative rumor prevalence, and the effect of homophily depends on the exact verification process and equilibrium verification rates. Our model highlights that successful policies in the fight against rumors increase individuals' incentives to verify.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca P. Merlino & Paolo Pin & Nicole Tabasso, 2020. "Debunking Rumors in Networks," Papers 2010.01018,, revised May 2022.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:2010.01018

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation


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