2015/11 LEM Working Paper Series

Boundedly Rational Opinion Dynamics in Social Networks: Does Indegree Matter?

Pietro Battiston and Luca Stanca
Social Networks, Learning, Social Influence, Bounded Rationality

  JEL Classifications
D85, D83, A14, L14, Z13

This paper investigates opinion dynamics and social in uence in directed communication networks. We study the theoretical properties of a boundedly rational model of opinion formation in which individuals aggregate the information they receive from their neighbors by using weights that are a function of neighbors' indegree. We then present the results of a laboratory experiment explicitly designed to test the causal effect of indegree on social in uence. We find that the social influence of an agent is positively affected by the number of individuals she listens to. When forming their opinions, agents take into account the structure of their communication network, although only to a limited extent.
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