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

  • 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
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Handle: RePEc:stn:sotoec:0009
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  1. Glen Ellison, 2010. "Learning, Local Interaction, and Coordination," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391, David K. Levine.
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  5. Valentina Corradi & Antonella Ianni, . ""Ergodicity and Clustering in Opinion Formation''," CARESS Working Papres 98-10, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
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  9. 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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  16. Ellison, Glenn, 2000. "Basins of Attraction, Long-Run Stochastic Stability, and the Speed of Step-by-Step Evolution," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 17-45, January.
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