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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. Valentina Corradi & Antonella Ianni, . "Ergodicity and Clustering in Opinion Formation," Penn CARESS Working Papers 4e07391e101139fde2f8e70d4, Penn Economics Department.
  2. Stephen Morris, . "Contagion," Penn CARESS Working Papers ab67d13cfae3b5b56b7b9df3b, Penn Economics Department.
  3. Michihiro Kandori & Rafael Rob, 1997. "Bandwagon effects and long run technology choice," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1265, David K. Levine.
  4. Antonella Ianni, . ""Learning Correlated Equilibria in Potential Games''," CARESS Working Papres 98-05, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  5. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
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  7. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, June.
  8. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
  9. Anderlini, Luca & Ianni, Antonella, 1996. "Path Dependence and Learning from Neighbors," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 141-177, April.
  10. Eshel, I. & Samuelson, L. & Shaked, A., 1996. "Altruists, Egoists and Hooligans in a Local Interaction Model," Working papers 9612r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  11. Stephen Morris, . "Interaction Games: A Unified Analysis of Incomplete Information, Local Interaction and Random Matching," Penn CARESS Working Papers 1879bf5487d743edef7f32bb2, Penn Economics Department.
  12. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 1998. "Learning in games," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 631-639, May.
  13. Piketty, Thomas, 2000. "Voting as Communicating," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 169-91, January.
  14. Lee, In Ho & Valentinyi, Akos, 2000. "Noisy Contagion without Mutation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 47-56, January.
  15. Katz, Michael L & Shapiro, Carl, 1985. "Network Externalities, Competition, and Compatibility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 424-40, June.
  16. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1985. "Standardization, Compatibility, and Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 70-83, Spring.
  17. Glen Ellison, 2010. "Learning, Local Interaction, and Coordination," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391, David K. Levine.
  18. M. Kandori & G. Mailath & R. Rob, 1999. "Learning, Mutation and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 500, David K. Levine.
  19. L. Blume, 2010. "The Statistical Mechanics of Strategic Interaction," Levine's Working Paper Archive 488, David K. Levine.
  20. 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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