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Populism and polarization in social media without fake news: The vicious circle of biases, beliefs and network homophily

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  • Hakobyana, Zaruhi
  • Koulovatianos, Christos

Abstract

We build a search-and-matching algorithm of network dynamics with decision-making under incomplete information, seeking to understand the determinants of the observed gradual downgrading of expert opinion on complicated issues and the decreasing trust in science. Even without fake news, combining the internet's ease of forming networks with (a) individual biases, such as confirmation bias or assimilation bias, and (b) people's tendency to align their actions with those of peers, produces populist and polarization network dynamics. Homophily leads to actions with more weight on biases and less weight on expert opinion, and such actions lead to more homophily.

Suggested Citation

  • Hakobyana, Zaruhi & Koulovatianos, Christos, 2019. "Populism and polarization in social media without fake news: The vicious circle of biases, beliefs and network homophily," CFS Working Paper Series 626, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:626
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bramoullé, Yann & Currarini, Sergio & Jackson, Matthew O. & Pin, Paolo & Rogers, Brian W., 2012. "Homophily and long-run integration in social networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(5), pages 1754-1786.
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    16. repec:hrv:faseco:33078973 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    network dynamics; internet; higher-order beliefs; learning; expertopinions; biased assimilation; confirmation bias;

    JEL classification:

    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory

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