Dynamic competition over social networks

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Working paper
Antoine Mandel, Xavier Venel
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Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne
Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne
We provide an analytical approach to the problem of influence maximization in a social network when two players compete by means of dynamic targeting strategies. We formulate the problem as a two-player zero-sum stochastic game. We prove the existence of the uniform value: if the players are sufficiently patient, both players can guarantee the same mean-average opinion without knowing the exact discount factor. Further, we put forward some elements for the characterization of equilibrium strategies. In general, players must implement a trade-off between a forward-looking perspective, according to which they shall aim at maximizing the future spread of their opinion in the network, and a backward-looking perspective, according to which they shall aim at counteracting their opponent's previous actions. When the influence potential of players is small, an equilibrium strategy is to systematically target the agent with the largest eigenvector centrality.
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