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The Power of Whispers: A Theory of Rumor, Communication and Revolution

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  • Yang Lu

    (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

  • Wing Suen

    (The University of Hong Kong)

  • Heng Chen

    (University of Hong Kong)

Abstract

We study the role rumors play in revolutions using a global game model. Agents with diverse private information rationally evaluate the informativeness of rumors about the regime strength. Without communication among agents, wild rumors are discounted and agents are generally less responsive to rumors than to trustworthy news. When agents can exchange views on the informativeness of rumors, a rumor against the regime would coordinate a larger mass of attackers than that without communication. The effect of communication can be so large that rumors can have a greater impact on mobilization than does fully trustworthy information.

Suggested Citation

  • Yang Lu & Wing Suen & Heng Chen, 2013. "The Power of Whispers: A Theory of Rumor, Communication and Revolution," 2013 Meeting Papers 411, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:411
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Morris, Stephen & Shin, Hyun Song, 1998. "Unique Equilibrium in a Model of Self-Fulfilling Currency Attacks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 587-597, June.
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    5. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1993. "The Economics of Rumours," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(2), pages 309-327.
    6. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Media Bias and Reputation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 280-316, April.
    7. Wing Suen, 2010. "Mutual Admiration Clubs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(1), pages 123-132, January.
    8. Paul R. Milgrom, 1981. "Good News and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 380-391, Autumn.
    9. Chris Edmond, 2013. "Information Manipulation, Coordination, and Regime Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1422-1458.
    10. Acemoglu, Daron & Ozdaglar, Asuman & ParandehGheibi, Ali, 2010. "Spread of (mis)information in social networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 194-227, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sangnier, Marc & Zylberberg, Yanos, 2017. "Protests and trust in the state: Evidence from African countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 55-67.
    2. Sangnier, Marc & Zylberberg, Yanos, 2017. "Protests and trust in the state: Evidence from African countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 55-67.
    3. repec:spr:sochwe:v:49:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s00355-017-1067-3 is not listed on IDEAS

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