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Influential Opinion Leaders

Author

Listed:
  • Jakub Steiner
  • Colin Stewart

Abstract

We present a two-stage coordination game in which early choices of experts with special interests are observed by followers who move in the second stage. We show that the equilibrium outcome is biased toward the experts' interests even though followers know the distribution of expert interests and account for it when evaluating observed experts' actions. Expert influence is fully decentralized in the sense that each individual expert has a negligible impact. The bias in favor of experts results from a social learning effect that is multiplied through a coordination motive. We show that the total effect can be large even if the direct social learning effect is small. We apply our results to the diffusion of products with network externalities and the onset of social movements.

Suggested Citation

  • Jakub Steiner & Colin Stewart, 2012. "Influential Opinion Leaders," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp458, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  • Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp458
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Steiner, Jakub, 2008. "Coordination of mobile labor," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 139(1), pages 25-46, March.
    2. Page, Benjamin I. & Shapiro, Robert Y. & Dempsey, Glenn R., 1987. "What Moves Public Opinion?," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 23-43, March.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. What Should We Do About Influential Opinion Leaders – Expert Biases & Election Outcomes
      by Miguel in Simoleon Sense on 2010-04-29 19:47:37

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Shadmehr, Mehdi & Bernhardt, Dan, 2019. "Vanguards in revolution," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 146-166.
    2. Kohei Kawamura & Vasileios Vlaseros, 2015. "Expert Information and Majority Decisions," ESE Discussion Papers 261, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
    3. Kawamura, Kohei & Vlaseros, Vasileios, 2017. "Expert information and majority decisions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 77-88.
    4. Shadmehr, Mehdi, 2015. "Extremism in revolutionary movements," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 97-121.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    voting; coordination; experts;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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