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Seeking Harmony Amidst Diversity: Consensus Building with Network Externalities

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  • Chia-Hui Chen
  • Junichiro Ishida

Abstract

A group of individuals, with a potential conflict of interest, face a choice among alternatives. There is a network externality such that the chosen alternative yields value only if sufficiently many individuals get on board. Their preferences for each alternative and the benefit derived from a successfully formed network are known only privately and might vary between the players who determine whether to make their choices early or late. We characterize the equilibrium timing of adoption as well as the efficient timing which maximizes the total expected payoff. We also show that the efficient timing of adoption can be implemented by a simple fee scheme. The analysis gives an insight into why consensus is often hard-won in some societies and suggests a potential role of social norms in improving the efficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Chia-Hui Chen & Junichiro Ishida, 2011. "Seeking Harmony Amidst Diversity: Consensus Building with Network Externalities," ISER Discussion Paper 0826, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  • Handle: RePEc:dpr:wpaper:0826
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    File URL: http://www.iser.osaka-u.ac.jp/library/dp/2011/DP0826.pdf
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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:101:y:2007:i:03:p:409-424_07 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Battaglini, Marco & Morton, Rebecca & Palfrey, Thomas, 2007. "Efficiency, Equity, and Timing of Voting Mechanisms," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 101(03), pages 409-424, August.
    3. Steven Callander, 2007. "Bandwagons and Momentum in Sequential Voting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 653-684.
    4. Joseph Farrell & Carl Shapiro, 1988. "Dynamic Competition with Switching Costs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(1), pages 123-137, Spring.
    5. Battaglini, Marco, 2005. "Sequential voting with abstention," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 445-463, May.
    6. 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.
    7. Callander, Steven, 2008. "Majority rule when voters like to win," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 393-420, November.
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