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American Economic Journal: Microeconomics: Vol. 4 No. 1 (February 2012)

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Diverging Opinions

Article Citation

Andreoni, James, and Tymofiy Mylovanov. 2012. "Diverging Opinions." American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 4(1): 209-32.

DOI: 10.1257/mic.4.1.209

Abstract

People often see the same evidence but draw opposite conclusions, becoming polarized over time. More surprisingly, disagreements persist even when they are commonly known. We derive a model and present an experiment showing that opinions can diverge when one-dimensional opinions are formed from two-dimensional information. When subjects are given sufficient information to reach agreement, however, disagreement persists. Subjects discount information when it is filtered through the actions of others, but not when it is presented directly, indicating that common knowledge of disagreement may be the result of excessive skepticism about the decision-making skills of others. (JEL C92, D82, D83)

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Authors

Andreoni, James (U CA, San Diego)
Mylovanov, Tymofiy (U PA)

JEL Classifications

C92: Design of Experiments: Laboratory, Group Behavior
D82: Asymmetric and Private Information
D83: Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief

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