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Attitude polarization

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  • Ludwig, Alexander
  • Zimper, Alexander

Abstract

Psychological evidence suggests that people’s learning behavior is often prone to a “myside bias”or “irrational belief persistence”in contrast to learning behavior exclusively based on objective data. In the context of Bayesian learning such a bias may result in diverging posterior beliefs and attitude polarization even if agents receive identical information. Such patterns cannot be explained by the standard model of rational Bayesian learning that implies convergent beliefs. As our key contribution, we therefore develop formal models of Bayesian learning with psychological bias as alternatives to rational Bayesian learning. We derive conditions under which beliefs may diverge in the learning process and thus conform with the psychological evidence. Key to our approach is the assumption of ambiguous beliefs that are formalized as non-additive probability measures arising in Choquet expected utility theory. As a specific feature of our approach, our models of Bayesian learning with psychological bias reduce to rational Bayesian learning in the absence of ambiguity.

Suggested Citation

  • Ludwig, Alexander & Zimper, Alexander, 2007. "Attitude polarization," Papers 07-66, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
  • Handle: RePEc:mnh:spaper:2502
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    File URL: https://ub-madoc.bib.uni-mannheim.de/2502/1/dp07_66.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. James Andreoni & Tymofiy Mylovanov, 2012. "Diverging Opinions," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 209-232, February.
    2. Ludwig, Alexander & Zimper, Alexander, 2014. "Biased Bayesian learning with an application to the risk-free rate puzzle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 79-97.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Non-additive Probability Measures ; Choquet Expected Utility Theory ; Bayesian Learning ; Bounded Rationality;

    JEL classification:

    • C79 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Other
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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