Extremes and Moderates: A Characterization and an Application to Lobbying
Abstract: In a society where individuals differ in their valuation of different social policies, when might one consider a given individual as having references that are extreme relative to the others? And how important are such preferences in determining eventual policy? In this paper, we describe an individual as being extreme if her views differ from the mainstream to the extent that the rest of the society is able to unanimously agree on a compromise policy that they strictly prefer to what might have been the outcome if such an individual has her own way. Relying on the intermediate property of preferences due to Grandmont  we provide a simple geometric characterization of extreme preferences. Furthermore, we also present an illustrative positive model of lobbying activity where we apply our characterization result to show that every equilibrium social policy is determined only by the activities of those holding extreme preferences even when they are a minority
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