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Boundedly Rational Opinion Dynamics in Directed Social Networks: Theory and Experimental Evidence

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  • Pietro Battiston
  • Luca Stanca

Abstract

This paper investigates opinion dynamics and social influence in directed communication networks. We study the properties of a generalized boundedly rational model of opinion formation in which individuals aggregate the information they receive by using weights that are a function of their neighbors' indegree. We then present an experiment designed to test the predictions of the model. We find that both Bayesian updating and boundedly rational updating à la DeMarzo et al. (2003) are rejected by the data. Consistent with our theoretical predictions, the social influence of an agent is positively and significantly affected by the number of individuals she listens to. When forming their opinions, agents do take into account the structure of the communication network, although in a sub-optimal way.

Suggested Citation

  • Pietro Battiston & Luca Stanca, 2014. "Boundedly Rational Opinion Dynamics in Directed Social Networks: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 267, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:267
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Buechel, Berno & Hellmann, Tim & Klößner, Stefan, 2015. "Opinion dynamics and wisdom under conformity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 240-257.
    3. Pietro Battiston & Sharon G. Harrison, 2019. "Believe it or not: Experimental Evidence on Sunspot Equilibria with Social Networks," Working Papers 422, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2019.
    4. Vegard Høghaug Larsen & Leif Anders Thorsrud, 2018. "Business cycle narratives," Working Papers No 6/2018, Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum economics (CAMP), BI Norwegian Business School.
    5. Brandts, Jordi & Giritligil, Ayça Ebru & Weber, Roberto A., 2015. "An experimental study of persuasion bias and social influence in networks," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 214-229.
    6. Wang, Zongrun & Chen, Songsheng, 2019. "Market efficiency, strategies and incomes of heterogeneously informed investors in a social network environment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 15-32.
    7. Goldbaum David, 2019. "Conformity and Influence," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 19(1), pages 1-29, January.
    8. Berno Buechel & Stefan Klößner & Martin Lochmüller & Heiko Rauhut, 2020. "The strength of weak leaders: an experiment on social influence and social learning in teams," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(2), pages 259-293, June.
    9. Foerster, Manuel, 2018. "Finite languages, persuasion bias, and opinion fluctuations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 46-57.
    10. Angelo Antoci & Guido Ferilli & Paolo Russu & Pier Luigi Sacco, 2020. "Rational populists: the social consequences of shared narratives," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 479-506, April.
    11. Berno Buechel & Stefan Klößner & Martin Lochmüller & Heiko Rauhut, 2020. "The strength of weak leaders: an experiment on social influence and social learning in teams," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(2), pages 259-293, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social Networks; Learning; Social In uence; Bounded Rationality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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