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Persuasion bias, social influence, and uni-dimensional opinions

  • Peter M. DeMarzo
  • Dimitri Vayanos
  • Jeffrey Zwiebel

We propose a boundedly rational model of opinion formation in which individuals are subject to persuasion bias; that is, they fail to account for possible repetition in the information they receive. We show that persuasion bias implies the phenomenon of social influence, whereby one’s influence on group opinions depends not only on accuracy, but also on how well-connected one is in the social network that determines communication. Persuasion bias also implies the phenomenon of unidimensional opinions; that is, individuals’ opinions over a multidimensional set of issues converge to a single “left-right” spectrum. We explore the implications of our model in several natural settings, including political science and marketing, and we obtain a number of novel empirical implications.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/454/
File Function: Open access version.
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 454.

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Date of creation: Aug 2003
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Publication status: Published in Quarterly Journal of Economics, August, 2003, 118(3), pp. 909-968. ISSN: 1531-4650
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:454
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