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Consensus, contagion and clustering in a space-time model of public opinion formation

Listed author(s):
  • Ianni, Antonella
  • Corradi, Valentina

We study a simple model of public opinion formation that posits that interaction between neighbouring agents leads to bandwagons in the dynamics of individual opinions, as well as in that of the aggregate process. We show that in different specifications of the model, there is a tendency for the process to show consensus on one of the two competing opinions. We show how a publicly available poll of current public opinion may lead to a form of contagion, by which public opinion tends to agree with the poll. We point out that, in the absence of a poll, the process displays the feature that, after long time spans, a sequence of states occur which, when viewed locally, remain almost stationary and are characterized by large clusters of individuals of the same opinion. The running metaphor we use is that of a model of pre-electoral public opinion formation, with two candidates running. We provide some heuristic considerations on the implication that these findings could have in terms of space-time allocation of fundings in an electoral campaign.

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File URL: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/32962/1/0009.pdf
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Paper provided by Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton in its series Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics with number 0009.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2000
Handle: RePEc:stn:sotoec:0009
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  1. Blume Lawrence E., 1993. "The Statistical Mechanics of Strategic Interaction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 387-424, July.
  2. M. Kandori & R. Rob, 2010. "Bandwagon Effects and Long Run Technology Choice," Levine's Working Paper Archive 501, David K. Levine.
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  6. Valentina Corradi & Antonella Ianni, "undated". ""Ergodicity and Clustering in Opinion Formation''," CARESS Working Papres 98-10, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  7. Glenn Ellison, 2000. "Basins of Attraction, Long-Run Stochastic Stability, and the Speed of Step-by-Step Evolution," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 17-45.
  8. Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.
  9. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-440, June.
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  12. Stephen Morris, "undated". "Contagion," Penn CARESS Working Papers ab67d13cfae3b5b56b7b9df3b, Penn Economics Department.
    • Stephen Morrs, "undated". ""Contagion''," CARESS Working Papres 97-01, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  13. In Ho Lee & Akos Valentinyi, 2000. "Noisy Contagion Without Mutation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 47-56.
  14. Aderlini, L. & Ianni, A., 1993. "Path Dependence and Learning from Neighbours," Papers 186, Cambridge - Risk, Information & Quantity Signals.
  15. Glen Ellison, 2010. "Learning, Local Interaction, and Coordination," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391, David K. Levine.
  16. Antonella Ianni, "undated". ""Learning Correlated Equilibria in Potential Games''," CARESS Working Papres 98-05, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  17. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1998. "Learning in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2222, David K. Levine.
  18. Heath, Anthony & Evans, Geoffrey, 1994. "Tactical Voting: Concepts, Measurement and Findings," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(04), pages 557-561, October.
  19. Eshel, I. & Samuelson, L. & Shaked, A., 1996. "Altruists, Egoists and Hooligans in a Local Interaction Model," Working papers 9612, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  20. Thomas Piketty, 2000. "Voting as Communicating," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 169-191.
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