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American Economic Journal: Microeconomics: Vol. 4 No. 3 (August 2012)

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Public Disagreement

Article Citation

Sethi, Rajiv, and Muhamet Yildiz. 2012. "Public Disagreement." American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 4(3): 57-95.

DOI: 10.1257/mic.4.3.57

Abstract

We develop a model of deliberation under heterogeneous beliefs and incomplete information, and use it to explore questions concerning the aggregation of distributed information and the consequences of social integration. We show that when priors are correlated, all private information is eventually aggregated and public beliefs are identical to those arising under observable priors. When priors are independently distributed, however, some private information is never revealed, and communication breaks down entirely in large groups. Interpreting integration in terms of the observability of priors, we show how increases in social integration lead to less divergent public beliefs on average. (JEL D82, D83, Z13)

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Authors

Sethi, Rajiv (Columbia U and Santa Fe Institute)
Yildiz, Muhamet (MIT)

JEL Classifications

D82: Asymmetric and Private Information
D83: Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief
Z13: Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification

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American Economic Journal: Microeconomics


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