Opinion formation and targeting when persuaders have extreme and centrist opinions.

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Working paper
Agnieszka Rusinowska, Akylai Taalaibekova
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Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne
Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne
We consider a model of competitive opinion formation in which three persuaders characterized by (possibly unequal) persuasion impacts try to influence opinions in a society of individuals embedded in a social network. Two of the persuaders have the extreme and opposite opinions, and the third one has the centrist opinion. Each persuader chooses one individual to target, i.e., he forms a link with the chosen individual in order to spread his own “point of view” in the society and to get the average long run opinion as close as possible to his own opinion. We examine the opinion convergence and consensus reaching in the society. We study the existence and characterization of pure strategy Nash equilibria in the game played by the persuaders with equal impacts. This characterization depends on influenceability and centrality (intermediacy) of the targets. We discuss the effect of the centrist persuader on the consensus and symmetric equilibria, compared to the framework with only two persuaders having the extreme opinions. When the persuasion impacts are unequal with one persuader having a sufficiently large impact, the game has only equilibria in mixed strategies.
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