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Forming Opinions

Forming Opinions

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Published by Yudy Yunardy
A long-standing line of work in economic theory has studied models by which a group of
people in a social network, each holding a numerical opinion, can arrive at a shared opinion
through repeated averaging with their neighbors in the network. Motivated by the observation
that consensus is rarely reached in real opinion dynamics, we study a related sociological model
in which individuals' intrinsic beliefs counterbalance the averaging process and yield a diversity
of opinions.
By interpreting the repeated averaging as best-response dynamics in an underlying game
with natural payos, and the limit of the process as an equilibrium, we are able to study the
cost of disagreement in these models relative to a social optimum. We provide a tight bound
on the cost at equilibrium relative to the optimum; our analysis draws a connection between
these agreement models and extremal problems for generalized eigenvalues. We also consider a
natural network design problem in this setting, where adding links to the underlying network
can reduce the cost of disagreement at equilibrium.
A long-standing line of work in economic theory has studied models by which a group of
people in a social network, each holding a numerical opinion, can arrive at a shared opinion
through repeated averaging with their neighbors in the network. Motivated by the observation
that consensus is rarely reached in real opinion dynamics, we study a related sociological model
in which individuals' intrinsic beliefs counterbalance the averaging process and yield a diversity
of opinions.
By interpreting the repeated averaging as best-response dynamics in an underlying game
with natural payos, and the limit of the process as an equilibrium, we are able to study the
cost of disagreement in these models relative to a social optimum. We provide a tight bound
on the cost at equilibrium relative to the optimum; our analysis draws a connection between
these agreement models and extremal problems for generalized eigenvalues. We also consider a
natural network design problem in this setting, where adding links to the underlying network
can reduce the cost of disagreement at equilibrium.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Yudy Yunardy on Mar 09, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/09/2013

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